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r-. • 








BY ^ 


Of Magdalen CoUege, Oxford. 












D. G. Hogarth, Esquire, M.A., 




Mr. Pabey has asked me to write a prefatory note to the 
record of his visit to the Old Syrian Church. Such an intro- 
duction appears to me to be quite unnecessary. The scope 
and character of the narrative cannot fail to commend it to 
all who watch with interest and hope the quickening into 
fresh life of the ancient Christian communities of the East, 
and are anxious to fulfil their political obligations to the 
Turkish Empire and to the Christians who are subject to its 
rule. At the same time I am glad to have the opportunity of 
saying with what pleasure and profit I have read the book. 

Mr. Parry visited the East in 1892 on behalf of the Syrian 
Patriarchate Education Society, in order to inspect the 
elementary schools already established by the Syrian 
Patriarch of Antioch with the help of friends in England, 
and to report generally on the prospects of effectually pro- 
moting education in the churches under the PatriarcVs 

The route which he followed through the " Syrian gates " 
to Aleppo, Urfa (Edessa), Diarbekr, Mardin, Mosul, is full of 
great memories, and yet comparatively unknown to English- 
men. As the traveller moves Eastward, Western influences 
gradually disappear, and he looks again on scenes of 
patriarchal times, which call up thoughts on human life lost 


vi Prefatory Note, 

in the hurry of our own restless days. Mr. Parry has 
succeeded in conveying to his readers, with vivid and natural 
directness, the impressions which the country and the people 
made upon him. His sketches of scenery and manners, of 
character and persons, are full of life and local colour. He 
describes with perfect candour and impartiality the good and 
bad qualities of Christian and Mohammedan ; and it is no 
slight testimony to the power of the Gospel that he found the 
Syrian Christians, isolated and oppressed for centuries, to 
maintain a higher standard in the common virtues of personal 
and domestic life than their Moslem neighbours. From time 
to time he throws side lights on the vices of the Turkish local 
government as he chronicles the intrigues and corruption — 
Oriental, perhaps, rather than Turkish — of which he was 
witness ; and the recent outrages on the Armenians receive a 
terrible illustration from the sufferings inflicted on the 
Yazidis while he was at Mosul. 

At the same time Mr. Parry recognises the growing 
toleration which is now extended to the native Christians 
in the country which he visited. But it must be remem- 
bered that every fresh concession to Christians is opposed 
to the spirit of Islam, and cannot but alienate the feelings 
of the true believer from the Sultan who yields it, and make 
the Sultan more nervously sensitive to every expression of 
national spirit. None the less the duty of the European 
powers, by which the authority of Turkey is upheld, is 
clear. They are bound to observe scrupulously the terms 
of the treaties which they have made with Turkey, and 
to provide by watchful care that the Turks shall also 
observe them. In this respect it is a matter of deep 

Prefatory Note, vii 

regret that the name of England has lost something of 
its old power. 

But great as is the value of Mr. Parry^s book as a 
contribution to our knowledge of an important out-lying 
province of the Turkish empire, its chief importance lies 
in the view which it gives of the position and prospects 
of the Old Syrian Christians, the scanty representatives — 
perhaps 150,000 or 200,000 in numbei^ — of the Syrian 
element in the Church of Antioch, the earliest of the 
Gentile churches. Since Dr. Claudius Buchanan visited 
the Old Syrians in Malabar in 1806, from whom the 
Patriarch received a valuable present while Mr. Parry was 
at Mardin, interest in the ancient Oriental Churches has 
steadily, if slowly, increased in England, and it has received 
a powerful stimulus lately from the work of the Arch- 
bishop's mission to the Assyrians. The interest is natural. 
These independent Churches appeal with especial force to 
England and to the Churches of the Anglican Communion. 
They lie, it is true, under the imputation of contrasted 
heresies, dating from the controversies of the fifth century; 
but those most competent to speak are satisfied that in 
the case of the Jacobites and Nestorians of the present 
day the accusation rests on the misunderstanding of 
technical terms, and can be cleared away by mutual 
explanations. Meanwhile the rival Communions are eager 
for education. They desire to learn fully the teaching 
of their own ancient formularies and of Holy Scripture. 
They are not committed to any modern errors. Their 
very existence through centuries of persecution and 
temptation is a proof of the vitality of their faith. 


viii Prefatory Note. 

They are characteristically national Churches. They guard 
with the most jealous care their apostolic heritage, and 
are still able to express through it the power of their 
own life. Thus, while they cling to their liturgical 
language, Syriac, with almost pathetic devotion, they adopt 
the vernacular freely in sermons and popular services. 

These general remarks apply with peculiar power to the 
Old Syrian Church. This seems to live in the past. Its 
Patriarchs still assume on their election the name of Ignatius 
the Martyr. The people hitherto have known Western 
Christianity only through the Roman and American Missions 
(Congregational and Presbyterian) . But both missions have 
failed to make any serious impression on the main body of 
the Church. The aggressive imperialism of Rome, in spite 
of the dignity of its services, the strength and devotion of its 
missionaries, the political influence of France, repels a nation 
proud of their own possessions handed down from their 
fathers. The American Missionaries necessarily offend the 
same feeling of religious patriotism from another side. They 
have no instinctive regard for historic continuity, and look 
with little reverence on customs venerable by ancient use. 
But the Anglican Church on the other hand, strong by 
apostolic order and catholic sympathy, can approach the 
Syrian Christians without threatening their independence or 
disparaging the primitive traditions of a Communion older 
than itself. It can consistently welcome the task of building 
up, purifying, strengthening a body which claims tender 
regard for the sake of sufferings which it has borne for the 
Faith. It is under no temptation to seek either submission 
or uniformity from those whom it serves. It acknowledges 

Prefatory Note, ix 

the power of the Faith to harmonise large differences of 
intellectual and ritual expression, answering to differences of 
race and history, within the limits of the historic Creed, 
It can wait for the issue which it desires, taught by home 
experience that stable reform must come from within. It can 
with good hope prepare the way for reconciling divided 
Churches through considerateness and patience. 

The first step towards the accomplishment of this great 
work of conciliation and enlightenment for the Eastern 
Churches by England — a partial acknowledgement of our 
debt to the East — must come through belter knowledge on 
both sides. The Old Syrians confound our position with that 
of non-episcopalian missionaries ; and we again are inclined 
to treat them as merely " nominal Christians.'' The under- 
standing which we both require will come through that help 
in education which the Syrians seek from us. And their 
need is unquestionably pressing. The Syrian Christians in 
the villages are for the most part poor — there are not, we 
are told, *' perhaps more than four books on an average in a 
village through Jebel Tur " — and those in the towns require 
the encouragement of a good example. So far a good 
beginning has been made. The late Patriarch used well 
the means which were placed at his disposal ; and the 
work in the schools which he founded is on the whole 

For rendering on a larger scale the help which is required, 
the present time is eminently favourable. There is good 
reason to hope that the new Patriarch — for the nonagenarian 
Patriarch with whom Mr. Parry stayed died in the past year 
— will be even more anxious than his predecessor for the 

Prefatory Note, 

extension of elementary religious schools and for the efficient 
education of his clergy. The noble monastery El-Za'aferan 
offers itself as an admirable place for a Patriarchal College. 
And for the larger influences of an educational mission, the 
rule of Turkey gives better opportunities than could be found 
if national and ecclesiastical differences were accentuated by 
the dismemberment of the Mohammedan Empire. 

If the season is thus opportune and the work urgent, the 
English Church appears, as I have endeavoured to show, to 
be specially fitted to undertake it. Here also, as elsewhere, 
representatives of the English Church would come to learn in 
teaching; and the Old Syrian Church can give us several 
lessons which are worth consideration. Let me mention two 
only. The regulation of the order of Deacons — "perhaps 
the most characteristic order of the Eastern Churches '' — 
deserves careful study, as likely to provide a solution of some 
of the problems suggested by the conditions of home work. 
Scarcely less interesting and important is the service of 
ordination for the wives of the parochial clergy, by which 
they are made a kind of deaconesses. Some such solemn 
dedication might be a help to many women among ourselves 
who, placed by marriage in positions of heavy responsibility, 
are distracted by the trivial calls of modern society. 

Even directly, therefore, we might gain much from extend- 
ing the work which has been most happily begun in the East. 
And we cannot but look to more remote and wider con- 
sequences of the enterprise. If it be fulfilled, it is likely 
that the controversy with Mohammedanism will enter on a 
new stage. The spread of Mohammedanism over Eastern 
Christendom was largely due to the baiTen controversies and 

Prefatory Note, xi 

divisions of Christians : the quickening and reuniting of the 
remnants of the ancient Churches may well be a revelation of 
the power of the Faith which will bring conviction to many 
devout souls, and open the way to the evangelization of the 
East by Eastern teachers. No doubt a long period of 
discipline and training must go before such a consummation, 
and our part is to claim now a share in the preparatory 

So the vision opens before us. By history and character 
and by the history and character of the National Church, 
the English nation is called to be the missionary nation of the 
world. It is not more surely marked out by its history to 
bring the Christian truth to the peoples of India, than it is 
marked out by the endowments of the National Church to 
bring new life to the Churches which represent the old 
Patriarchates of Antioch, and Alexandria, and Jerusalem. 
May it be enabled to ful611 this double call, and so to gain 
the blessing of fruitful service. Mr. Parry's narrative of his 
pioneer mission to Mesopotamia will, I trust, hasten the 
fulfilment of one part of this groat issue. 

B. F. Ddnelm. 

Auckland Castle, 
Dec, 8th, 18U4. 


As in old days the tide of conquest flowed westward, it is but 
natural that the ebb of travel should return towards the East. 
Year by year the region of romance is narrowed, and places 
which once were names for travellers to conjure with are 
brought one by one within the reach of spring and summer 
tourists. Romance now lurks beyond the Karakoram ranges 
or in Japan, scared away from the more familiar haunts of 
Syria and Greece. Nor can "the prerogative of travellers in 
Turkey to tell lies/' which Landor tells us was in his time 
undisputed, be any longer exercised. 

For the serious archaeologist, however, or the devotee of 
history much still remains within the ring or in the border- 
land surrounding it. With such a region, the Syrian country 
that lies between Palestine and the Tigris, the following 
pages are concerned. They present a detailed study of a relic 
of history pursued ofE the track of general research. They 
record no adventures or unusual episodes, but they seek to 
present a picture of quiet life in a country much abused, and 
among a people that command less than their share of 
ordinary interest. 

Among the various schemes, many fantastic enough, for 
promoting the union of Christendom, none seem to rest on a 
firmer basis than those whose aim is to secure greater 
intimacy and a more intelligent cordiality between the 
Christians of the East and West. Several societies have been 
formed with this purpose, recalling the similar efforts made 
by the Non -jurors of the eighteenth century ; and it was at the 
invitation of the oldest of these (the Syrian Patriarchate 
Education Society), and as their agent, that I undertook the 

xiv Introduction, 

journey here described. The aims of the society, the method 
of carrying them out, and their prospect of success, will be 
apparent to the reader. It is necessary here only to record 
my gratitude to the society for the opportunity afforded of 
obtaining so unique and pleasant an experience. 

Among the number of obligations which I have to acknow- 
ledge, the chief are owing to the Rev. F. E. Brightman, of 
the Pusey House, and the Rev. A. C. Headlam, of All Souls' 
College, Oxford, for much kind advice and assistance in the 
more strictly ecclesiastical part of my work. To Sir 
Frederic Groldsmid and the Secretary of the Royal Geo- 
graphical Society I owe thanks for valuable suggestions in 
regard to the transliteration of Arabic words, and for 
permission to consult the library of the Society. To my 
brother I am indebted for much arduous work in reading and 
correcting manuscripts and proofs. 

To the translation of parts of the sacred book of the 
Yazidis contained in the appendix a melancholy interest 
attaches. The original manuscript was in the hands of the 
late Professor Robertson Smith, waiting to be translated, 
when he died. Mr. E. G. Browne, Fellow of Pembroke 
College, Cambridge, and lecturer in Persian to the Uni- 
versity, kindly undertook the work of translation, which now 
stands as a slight monument of love to the memory of a great 
Orientalist. It comprises the most authentic copy yet 
published of the sacred book of that strange people, >\nth 
whom all who have read the works of Sir Henry Layard will 
be in part, at least, familiar. 

I have been sparing of references to the many books which 
I have consulted. The chief of these are the following : the 
immortal history of Gibbon, to appreciate whose mai'vellous 
and accurate learning there is no surer method than to 
pursue some bye-path in the period of which he treats ; the 
^' Bibliotheca Orientalis'' of the Assemanni, that storehouse 
of Eastern ecclesiastical knowledge; Dr. Payne Smith's 
translation of John of Ephesus, the gentle historian of the 

Introduction, xv 

sixth century; the works of Renaudot and Le Quien. Of 
more recent books, Etheridgo's " Syrian Churches/' Badger's 
*' Nestorians and Their Rituals," Cutts' '^ Christians under 
the Crescent/' Maclean and Browne's " Catholicos of the 
East and His People/' Buckingham's ''Travels in 
Mesopotamia/' Palgrave's " Central Arabia/' Burton's 
''Pilgrimage to El Madinah and Meccah/' Ainsworth's 
" Euphrates Expedition/' Layard's three volumes on Nineveh 
and Babylon, and the English collection of Dr. Noldeke's 
essays, have been of most value. 

For the map of the Jebel Tur district I am indebted to 
Mr. Andrus, the agent of the American Congregational Board 
of Missions at Midliiat. I have not thought it necessary to 
insert a map sho>ving my route through a country so well 
known as Eastern Turkey. 

In the diflScuIt matter of the transliteration of Arabic words 
I have mainly followed the system of the Royal Geographical 
Society, as that which seems likely to win its way into most 
general use. It assigns to all consonants the same value that 
they have in English, to all vowels that which they have in 
Italian. All double vowels, oo ee, are thus avoided. One 
accent only, the acute, is used, to mark the emphasis of the 
syllables. In general I have not used accents in the text, 
but have marked each word with great care according to its 
East Syrian pronunciation in the glossary. Several words, 
commonly used in English, have been left in their usual form, 
such as " Koran " ; others, the English spelling of which is 
less defensible and the correct form less seemingly pedantic, 
such as "harim" (harem), "bazar" (bazaar), "beg" (bey), 
"Mohammed" (Mahomet), have been altered. But in so 
difficult a matter, especially as regards vowels, it is scarcely 
possible to avoid inconsistency. Of certain shortcomings, 
for instance in the treatment of words having the definite 
article prefixed, I am fully aware ; I must shelter myself with 
the excuse that I am not a scientific linguist. Nor have I 
made any attempt to reconcile the system I have adopted 

xviii Contents. 



I. The Church of Antioch 279 

II. Thb Modern History op the Old Syrians . 301 

III. The Clergy and Churches op the Old Syrians . 314 

IV. Customs and Condition op the People . . 339 


The Yazidis op Mosul 357 

Translation op an Arabic Manuscript . . . 367 

Itinerary 389 

Glossary . 391 

Index 395 




Deir-el-Za'aferan To face Title 

The Syrian Gates ...... To face 2 

The Mosque of Abraham at Urf a ... To face 32 

The Patriarch of the Old Syrian Church ... 62 

An Armenian Priest ....... 93 

The Patriarch paying a State Visit .... 97 

Door of the Mortuary Chapel of the Patriarchs at 

Deir-el-Za'aferan ..... Tofa^ce 109 

Church of Mar Yakob at Deir-el-Za'aferan . To face 123 

The Mosque of Kasmiyeh near Mardin . . To face 153 

A Kurdish Agha . 186 

A Mountain Syrian ....... 204 

Roman Columns at Nisibin .... To fojce 223 

The Church of S. James at Nisibin .... 227 

The Tigris at Nineveh To face 249 

The Church at Hakh 327 

Map of the District of Jebel Tur . . . To face 169 
Ground-plans of Syrian Churches : — 

Hakh 328 

Nisibis 331 

oaian ......... ooa 

Deir-el-Omar ........ 334 





Through the Syrian Gatbs. 

It is a sad necessity that condemns the student of the 
mysterious East to enter Syria by a seaport town. Nowhere 
else may the ill results of inharmonious fusion be so clearly 
seen, bringing into foremost view the characteristic evils both 
of East and West. Alexandretta, the port of Aleppo, is no 
exception to the rule, rich though it is in memories of the past 
and signs of possible future greatness. The name of the town 
and every neighbouring hill or village recalls a vanished faith 
or empire. '^ Jacob's Well," ^' The Pillars of Jonah,'' Issus 
Iskanderun, each echoes the history of a long-passed age. 

Over the ill-paved streets of the dirty town, one day early 
in April, 1892, there rumbled a rickety cab drawn by four 
half-starved horses, and containing two Europeans, one a 
smart German commercial traveller, the other an Englishman 
without apparent aim or occupation, out on to the broad level 
plain that divides the range of Amanus from the Mediterranean 
Sea. One age after another had marched by this same road 
up to the " Syrian Gates '' — or pass that leads through the 
mountains — the armies of Cyrus, Alexander, and the Ptolemies, 
the mercenaries of the Lower Roman Empire, and the fate- 
inspired warriors of Islam. On either side was a row of 


Through the Syriaji Gates, 

wretched huts raised on piles above a foetid marsh, soon giving 
place to groves of mulberries and aloes and fields of newly- 
sprouting corn. It was mid-day as we crossed the fertile 
fever-stricken plain, and we were glad to reach the hills and 
feel the air grow fresher as we n eared the pass and village of 
Beilan. The land was rich, but failed from lack of trees to 
satisfy our European eyes. A palm tree here and there upon 
the plain, and on the hill sides small groups of splendid pines, 
gave some relief and shade, but all too few to overcome the 
general sense of desolation. 

On the road itself there was life enough with the strings of 
Syrian camels — great tawny creatures with tufted necks and 
shoulders, far finer to look at than the swift dromedaries of 
the desert. They were a picturesque sight, but seemed to 
express with their long upper lips unutterable sorrow, fore- 
boding the day when they shall pass away and the Iron Horse 
run where the Assyrian caravans have for three thousand 
years trod slowly east and west. Then we passed a detach- 
ment of Turkish soldiers marching in disorderly fashion with 
their wives towards Aleppo ; and then came herds of sheep 
and goats, bells tinkling and dogs barking, as they made their 
slow way to some wayside fountain. Pedlars and beggars 
that sat by the road exposing fearful sores to our charitable 
gaze, even these, too, were new sights to us ; fresh pages of 
the wonderful picture-book of the East. 

Beilan was a pleasant little town, stretching right across 
the gorge at the top of the pass and built on either side, house 
above house, with mosque and church between. Just beyond 
was an aqueduct, through breaks in which the water poured 
with the sound of melody so sweet in a thirsty land. Towards 
the sea to the west, and eastward over the plain of Antioch, 
the views were magnificent. The snow was still upon the 
mountains of Amanus and Taurus across the bay, and to the 
north upon the hills about Marash. In the eastern plain lay, 
like some mountain loch in Scotland, but many times larger, 
the great white lake, '' Bahr-el-Ajub," of Antioch ; and over 
and beside it floated clouds of mist, like flocks of sheep, in 
the heavy air. 

The Aleppo Road. 

The road from this point to Aleppo was not remarkable 
except for a fine causeway, built over the marshes by a certain 
Pasha of blessed memory called Murad, and not long since 
restored with the road itself. A little village had sprung up 
by the causeway, water being plentiful, and a small stall was 
opened where forbidding and forbidden drinks were sold, and 
oranges from the groves of Tarsus. Turkeys and geese made 
their several noises by the water-side, tended by small brown 
children ; and some way off, close by one of the mounds that 
are so abundant in this part of the country, was a group of 
Kurdish tents pitched there for the sake of the rich spring 
pasture. A little beyond these stood a large farmhouse with 
a Village nestling round it, to cultivate the crops and gather 
the wild liquorice that grows plentifully in these parts. Some 
hot springs give the place the name of '^ Hammamat," and 
cause it to be much visited for the cure of certain diseases. 

In the neighbourhood may be seen traces of the once 
extensive ruins of Dana, a town that lay on the high road 
from Antioch to the East, and the probable scene of the 
defeat of Queen Zenobia, in whose dominion it was, by 
Aurelian. Remains of cities of the Lower Empire lie scattered 
on every hill; and not far to the south still stand the 
monastery and church built to commemorate the most famous 
of all the Syrian Ascetics, Simeon Stylites, who, electing to 
spend his life in eccentric solitude on the summit of a column 
forty feet in height, wielded an influence over Christians and 
Arabs of which even the Emperor stood in awe.* 

The country was in itself not interesting, although in the 
early morning there were fine views looking towards the 
northern mountains with the sun cutting across the heavy 
mist. The road into Aleppo was execrable, nor is it possible 
to describe the misery of alternately bounding over loose 
boulders and dragging through sloughs of gelatinous mud. 
The caravan road was even worse, leading in parts over rocky 

* He died a.d. 459, and was buried at Antiooh. A popular account of him 
may be read in the English collection of Professor Noldeke's Oriental essays, 
trhe church is described in De Vogue's great work on the Syrian churches, and 
in the Introduction to Neale's " Patriarchate of Antiooh." 

B 2 

4 Aleppo. 

ground, in which the only track available for horses' feet was 
from hole to hole filled with thick soft soil. 

Seen from the last hill-top on the north-west side, the city 
of Aleppo forms a striking feature of the landscape, standing 
in the centre of the plain that stretches many miles to north 
and east and south. Of the town itself there is no need to 
write much. The fine bazars, the beautiful mosque of 
Zechariah, father of John of Damascus, with the strange 
legend connected with its daily call to prayer, the refined 
inhabitants of every creed and nationality, have all been 
described often enough.* I was surprised to find myself in 
a good hotel, strange confusion though it was of East and 
West. There was a visitor's book and table d'hote, of which 
I partook in company with a loquacious Greek from Smyrna, 
who drank more ** arrak " than cofiee, and half a dozen 
Turkish officers with sparsely buttoned hose, who sat silent 
through a solid English meal for the honour and glory of the 

Early the next morning a deputation of the Syrians of the 
place came with their priest and a train of rustics to wait 
upon me. At their head was the best of Orientals, Antonius 
Azar, a member of one of the oldest and most respected 
families in Aleppo, to whom I had letters requesting him to 
forward me on my way to Mardin. Nothing could exceed 
his politeness and hospitality. On my return from Mardin 
some months later I stayed in his house; but, as his wife 
explained, they had thought that, though their house might 
seem a pleasant place after living in the barbaric interior, yet 
on arrival from England I should be " ashamed " to stay in 
such an uncivilized abode. 

For some time the party sat round my room in awkward 
silence, rolling cigarettes for each other, and occasionally 
examining some of my possession. But the situation becoming 
strained, Selim, Azar's son, who spoke some words of English, 
suggested that I should go to his house and see the rest of 
the family. I readily acquiesced, and we walked in imposing 

* See especially a pleasant acconnt in Cutts' " Christians under the Crescent. 


An Aleppo Household, 

procession through the streets. Arrived at the house and 
seated in the " diwan/' coffee, cigarettes, and slices of 
preserved citron were handed round in filagree silver dishes, 
and a long dull hour passed, such as is usual in a land where 
the polite show their breeding on a visit by the observance 
of a dignified silence. Such conversation as went forward 
related to England and the few inhabitants of that country 
of whom they had heard; or of the luggage I had brought 
with me, and the price of the various things I wore. 
This is the first and most polite question a Syrian can ask a 

Everyone in the room smoked, including Azar's wife, an 
Armenian lady, who expelled both the smoke and the few 
words of French she knew in the same mincing manner with 
the tip of her tongue, as if they were gems of value which 
she was loth to lose. She was, nevertheless, the most refined 
native lady I met in Turkey, and a kind, considerate hostess. 
Her four daughters sat with her in the diwan, and shook 
hands and talked in a rational manner, very different from 
the custom of things further east, where women are treated 
like dogs, and dogs like wild animals. No less noticeable was 
the contrast of the simple dresses and sparse jewellery with 
the wealth of silk and trinkets and gold coins worn by the 
richer ladies of Diarbekr or Mosul ; of which contrast, no 
doubt, the absence of railways and the ten days' journey 
from town to town, is in great degree the cause. 

The room, in which we sat discussing the future of Turkish 
trade and the price of eatables in London, was a pleasant, 
airy diwan, decorated with green and white paint, and 
furnished with handsome modem carpets and cushions. 
There was a fine collection of old porcelain in the room, and 
over the doors were flaunting oleographs of the Greek and 
Russian royal families, with photographs of the Syrian 
Patriarch and several of the leading bishops. Green and red 
were the prevailing colours here and in the courtyard, and 
looked bright in the sun against the fine white plaster, for 
which Aleppo and Diarbekr are famous. 

A large diwan for receptions, another for the ladies' use, a 

6 An Aleppo House. 

dining room where everything was in a manner a la FrangUf 
formed, with the kitchens and a small summer diwan, the 
suite of rooms upon the ground floor. The fourth side of the 
court facing the north was occupied by a large open verandah 
or "aiwan/' in which to sit on summer evenings. It was 
covered by a lofty vaulted roof, supported on tall marble 
pillars of Saracenic style, having rich capitals, and the wall 
above decorated with graceful arabesque designs. The inner 
walls were of stone, and the floor of fine marble in arabesques. 
Everything else in the court, the fountain in the centre and 
the pavement, were of Aleppo marble, which gains by 
exposure to the air a lovely mellow tone, the colour of old 
parchment. The court, with its ever-flowing fountain and 
sweet orange trees, was only less delightful than the broad 
flat roof, on which I walked at evening, and gave rein to idle 
fancies about the ancient city hidden by roofs and porticos 

A walk round the chief buildings of the town brought 'us at 
last to the humble little building which the Syrians call their 
church. It was near the hour of evening prayer, so we sat 
a short while with the priest, a simple, pious old man, who 
made me write my name in his service book. It was most 
pathetic to note the contrast between the fine churches of the 
Roman, Greek, and Armenian communions of Aleppo and this 
poor little place, which is all that remains to a community 
that not long since numbered in the town three thousand 
souls. Few of th^ worshippers seemed to understand the 
words of the Syriac service, but there was no mistaking the 
real, though ignorant, devotion of the worshippers, who came 
week by week from the villages round, some many miles away, 
to attend their fathers^ church. There was one old woman, 
wrinkled and with hair dyed scarlet, in the church, and a 
score of great village men, who, service ended, walked 
reverently towards the altar to kiss the silver-bound Book of 
the Gospels and receive, one by one, the blessing of the 
priest before they left the church. 

It was my first acquaintance with this Old Syrian church, 
and details were marked clearly as they occurred. Perhaps 

An Aleppo House. 7 

I expected too much^ and had courted disappointment. And 
yet there wm something, too, in this bare little church and 
this ignorant worship, of which we have too little at home ; 
more of simple trust and patient faith in Him who is the Head 
of all the Churches. 

8 Oetting under way. 


From Aleppo to the Eupheates. 

In a soothing atmospliere of cigarettes and coffee, heavy 
with the sense of future bakhshish, we sat, Selim Azar, myself, 
and two stout sons of Anak, six foot four apiece, determining 
the rate of a journey to Mardin. It was a long affair, as such 
generally are ; for first the good men denied the possibility of 
getting their animals in from spring pasture near the town at 
the early hour of nine on Monday morning ; this in view of 
growing bakhshish. For Selim's sake, however, and the 
honour of his house they would start at ten, and charge only 
twice the regular fare. More coffee and cigarettes were 
needed to reduce the price ; and after an hour we concluded 
a bargain to pay half as much again as I paid on the return 
journey. Neither in Turkey nor elsewhere is experience to 
be had free. The muleteers then retired, paying, after the 
strange manner of their kind, a certain sum to guarantee 
their good faith, and promised to return at 8 a.m. on Monday; 
" upon their heads should it be." 

By a great piece of fortune having heard that a French 
gentleman, a government inspector, was starting that very day 
for Saert, I lost no time in obtaining an introduction, and it 
was arranged that we should travel together to Diarbekr, so 
that I was saved the necessity of procuring an interpreter. 

To western eyes there can be few stranger or more 
picturesque sights than to watch the arrival of one's train at 
the inn gates, attended by a crowd of interested spectators, 
gay-petticoated, newly shaven, and well be-turbanded for a new 

Getting under way. 9 

week. One of tlie sons of Anak appeared an liour late, very 
differently apparelled to-day, in consideration of the journey, 
with one beast for my slender luggage, and another for my- 
self. What a squeaking, and whinnying, and biting, and 
kicking among the number of creatures belonging to this and 
other caravans ! Donkeys, mules, and thoroughbreds were 
all in the highest state of excitement, with the men shouting, 
and using every abusive word they knew in all their three 
languages. Bells clanged, and tin pots banged with coffee 
pounders and kettles for use upon the road, until a re-echoing 
bray from the chief donkey announced that the loads had all 
been adjusted, and the caravan was ready to start. My 
French companion was waiting all this time near the Serai, 
or government buildings just outside the town, and with him 
several gentlemen, Turkish and French, who had come out to 
escort him for the first mile of the journey. 

With fantastic gyrations of our Turkish companions, and 
an unceasing flow of talk on the dangers of the road, to the 
tune of the caravan bells some way behind, we filed out of 
Aleppo along a route, called by courtesy a road, past the 
Aqueduct, built by the Empress Helena on her way to 
J erusalem, and under the telegraph wire, until we reached the 
last of the gardens, and an olive grove, out of which rode, like 
an ancient knight of Arthur's court, our orderly, known in 
Turkish as a "zaptieh." Here everyone dismounted, watered 
his horse, and bade an affectionate farewell to his neighbour, 
as to a dearest brother, and one half turned citywards, while 
the rest started out towards the unknown country beyond the 

April 4. — The last cord was cut that bound us to civilization, 
A wonderful sense of freedom came over us, and an invigorat- 
ing buoyancy inspired by the Arab country giving us the power 
to perform an unbroken ride of eleven days with enjoyment. 

It was a remarkable company, our caravan. The Inspector 
and I formed an advance guard with the zaptieh (him that 
came out of the wood), riding some way ahead, as we were 
light loads; and some days, especially when wet, reaching 
our night quarters two or three hours before the rest. This 

10 The Caravan. 

much annoyed our ''Katirjis/' or muleteers, who were of 
timid stock, and did not at all like to separate from oar 
doughty myrmidon, though the Spirit of brigandage only 
knows what he would have done, had any occasion for his 
services occurred ; most assuredly his place beside his wards 
would have known him no more. A curious creature was 
this zaptieh, in an ancient uniform, musty blue coat with tags 
of cotton braid hanging promiscuously about it, and faded 
trousers but ill-provided with buttons to match : over all a 
great coat, conglomerate of red and mustard yellow, made, 
it seemed, more to guide the rain to unprotected spots, than 
keep it out. A revolver or two, a gun of enormous length 
and curious construction, were combined with an evil look 
about his eye to keep up an appearance of ferocity, which, 
there is reason to think, would not have been maintained in 
action. Further afield he improved ; a passable saddle, and 
reins of string, led one to admire the really fine half-breed 
that he rode. This horse had, perhaps, fared best of any in 
the caravan, as his sleek sides showed; for whenever we 
passed a good green cornfield, and that was often in this 
springtime, he turned off, and browsed as long as he might. 
Being an oflScial person, with pay some months, perhaps 
years, in arrear, the zaptieh used his prescriptive right to feed 
at other people's expense. That there was any right or 
wrong in this, did not appear to him ; and had not his father 
done so before him ? Moreover, he was a pious Moslem, as 
his devotions, morning and evening, with exact lavations 
proved. His equipment was completed by a spotted red 
handkerchief, called "kefijeh,'' laid over his low "tarbush," 
and over it wound a twist of black camel's hair, the regular 
Arab head-dress, and an admirable protection from the sun. 

The zaptiehs belong to a large corps of mounted police or 
orderlies, who do a great deal of courier work for the Govern- 
ment, carry the post, and are supplied to travellers for 
protection along the high roads. The Government are 
obliged to give as many as are necessary to anyone who 
bears the proper passports, and travels along the public road. 
Doubtless they are not of much use in case of real danger ; and 

The Mounds of North Syria, 11 

in unfrequented places it is better to travel without an official, 
who only draws upon one the suspicion that the caravan is a 
valuable one ; but in ordinary cases they guarantee that the 
Grovemment accepts the responsibility for any loss or robbery, 
and ensure a polite, if unwilling reception into Kurdish vil- 
lages. A good zaptieh may be extremely useful in small ways 
when evening comes, and may take the place of an extra 
servant, thoroughly earning the bakhshish which is his due. 

Aleppo looked very picturesque, as we rode away in the 
morning light, with the beautiful mosque of S. Zechariah in 
front, and then the " Serai," or Government buildings, with the 
tower behind, lying round the high scarped rock of the citadel. 

The country between Aleppo and the Euphrates is not 
ordinarily interesting or beautiful, except for the splendid 
ranges of snow all along the mountains of Kurdistan. Yet 
once it was a land of great cities, the land of North Syria, of 
Chalybonitis, of Augusta Euphratensis. We may still trace 
its former splendour in the mounds and ruins that lie 
scattered over the plains, and make the heart sigh for what 
it once was, and for what devastation has made it. Near 
and far these mounds, ;(a)fuira as Diodorus Siculus calls them, 
meet the eye, generally in fertile places near a stream, or not 
far from the foot of a hill, so that villages still nestle under 
them, for the pasture of the flocks, and the produce of a few 
ploughed acres. Tel-Azaz, near the river Afrin, Arfad to the 
north of Aleppo, Bashir near Nezib, the site of the famous battle 
between the Turks and the Egyptians in 1839, Birejik, and 
Baal Kiosk, the beautiful retreat of Jocelyn de Courtney, second 
Count of Edessa, on the Euphrates' banks, are but a few of the 
hundred mounds which mark the remains of ancient cities, 
once Syrian, then Soman, and now the shame of Turkey.* 

* These sites are treated fully by W. F. Ainsworth. " Euphrates Expedition/' 
ii. 407. Azas-Arsace, a mound 250 yards in cirooit. Important when the 
Saracens conquered Syria; held by Bobert of Flanders. In an Appendix on 
Chalcidene, Ainsworth says : " In the time of the Bomans and Palmyreans there 
was no ^eat Syrian desert .... it would have no existence, were it not 
for the predatory dispositions of the Arabs, which, unrestrained by a feeble 
gOTemment, render sojourn or eyen trayel insecure . . . . aU tells of the 
past and present capabilities of this deserted region." ii. 423. 




12 Sheep and Goats, 

Climate, and the permanency of site that is so strong a 
feature of the East, to say nothing of the tendency of the 
Moslemsi, nay, even the Christians in these lands, to let a 
thing fall to ruins, but not often destroy it, have kept these 
mounds as they have been for hundreds of years. " Thou 
hast made of the city an heap, of the defenced city a ruin : a 
palace of strangers to be no city; it shall never be built."* 

For an hour or two as we left Aleppo, the low hills were 
stony enough, except along the banks of the Kawaik,t where 
herds of countless sheep and cattle feed and drink. Cows 
these people set little store by, for pasture is hard to find in 
tiummer, nor is their milk counted so wholesome as that of 
goats. Sheep there are by thousands, not least valued for their 
wonderful tails, the fat of which is so fine that it may be used 
in place of butter for cooking. Their tails grow so large at 
times that small wheeled carts are made to support them, 
with shafts attached to the creatures' sides. Selection for 
breeding has, of course, emphasized this peculiarity. But far 
beyond all other creatures of the herd is the goat, the epitome 
of all that in an animal is worth living for ; full of frolic when 
a baby, and knowing nothing but to jump off small eminences, 
and to cry mamma ; conceited and pugnacious in youth ; and 
in maturity solemn to a degree that is at times exasperating. 
After a long day's journey we would often sit and watch the 
children bring the herds in at evening, shrieking with delight 
as they seized the tail of this, and the hind leg of that bleating 
imp. Then came solemnly in the goats ; and they were set 
upon by the same company of boys and girls, hunting them 
over roofs and through kitchens until all were milked by stalwart 
dames, and then allowed the solace of their oflFspring, about 
which there was a good deal of quarrelling among the mothers, 
until they had settled down, each with her own progeny. 
After a short respite the kids were again seized ruthlessly, 

* Not many years since, howeyer, the builders in Aleppo began to take stone 
from the wonderful chnrches in the neighbourhood for their own use. It would 
be a pity if strong measures were not taken to prevent the continuance of this. 

t Ainsworth i. 91, for the course and history of this river. The Chains of 

A Kurdish Village. 13 

and cast into bell-shaped holes in the ground to work digestion's 
happy cure, until all goats and kids were collected, and driven 
into the inmost chambers of the houses for the night. In these 
villages the outer room is occupied by the men, an inner one 
by the women, and a third one by the cattle, who have thus 
to pass through the side of both rooms to reach their night 

This work over, the children collected to stare at us, and 
the ladies to peep from behind corners, or prepare the evening 
meals, or watch their lords at play under the walls of the 

These good people had been exercising the prescriptive 
right of Eastern males to do nothing in the spring, and those 
who had not been watching us were engaged in playing a dull 
game of knuckle bones, with eggs for stakes. These tall 
Kurds formed a picturesque group sitting under the mud 
walls, some in gay cloaks or " abbas,'' richly embroidered,, 
others in short jackets, and all with the kefiyeh bound with 
a cord of camel's hair round their heads, and long white 
petticoats, with their boys standing round them. It was sad 
to see the diseases, especially of the skin and eyes, from which 
so many suffered, and towards which we could give little help,^ 
save by a general distribution of simple lotions. For the men 
it seemed a not unpleasant life, mind not considered, with 
plenty of wives and plenty of food ; but for the women, their 
slaves, who knows ? They have little dignity or pleasure in 
any sense, except with their children, while they have to do 
all the hard work. Of religion, there is little enough either 
for men or women, beyond the daily prayer-drill, led by the- 
village ^' Mullah," on an open space some little way beyond tho 
houses. The sight of Moslems at prayer is impressive when 
seen for the first time; but to see it day by day is to learn to 
doubt whether it be, for most of them, more than a mere 
exercise of drill ; certainly it does not teach them not to He,^ 
or cheat, or murder, nor, above all, to honour the wife as the 
weaker vessel. 

Towards evening of the first day, we came through richer 
land, grassy, and with more ample crops, to the village of 



■ f 

' t 



• 1 



14 Akhterin, 

Akhterin. It was a desolate place, being built of sun-burnt 
brick, and destitute of trees, while the groups of conical roofs, 
constructed after the manner of the so-called treasuries of 
Mycenae, gave it the appearance of a large rhubarb bed. We 
were conducted through a filthy yard to the guest-room of 
the head man's house, a fine, new room, with a platform on 
each side of the entrance, on which to sit and smoke or stand 

I and pray. On the opposite side of the yard, a huge fire 

blazed in a corner just outside the stable, and on the third 

J , side, were the rooms occupied by the family and their various 

herds. Everywhere, except in our diwan, mud prevailed, 
making very necessary the large wooden clogs that all donned 
to cross the yard. Fortunately, the air was, as yet, too cold 

>; for mosquitos and other insects, so that we enjoyed repose 

unbroken, except by the music of donkeys and innumerable 

)• cocks. 

/ » 

Our room was large and freshly decorated with rough 
carving and gaudy paint of red and green upon all the wood- 
work, and gay weapons of antique design ranged upon the 
walls, with tinsel ornaments round a mirror, the most dis- 
torting it has been my fortune to behold. Near the door, a 
♦ wooden balustrade divided off a space some two feet below 

\ the level of the rest of the roora, where Katirjis and women 

! might sit and gaze upon their lords. Down the two sides of 

; the upper portions two long felt rugs were laid, on which we 

I sat and took our ease until the appearance of supper. The 

i sole architectural feature of the room was a large round fire- 

I place, built half in, half outside the wall, serving well enough 

( in calm weather, but in a wind — well, the smoke did drive 

the swallows out before bed-time came. There were windows, 
but very small and high up, for safety's sake, so that all the 
light there was came in at the door, which, as always in this 
hospitable land, stood open from morning until night. No 
one is refused entrance, who wishes to inspect, rob, or ask 
rude questions of the traveller, drinking his coffee and smoking 
his cigarette. Supper was a simple meal, hard-boiled eggs, 
bread, sometimes milk, every fourth day a starved old hen, 
and a little wine, so long as good Madame Azar's Aleppo 

Akhterin to Zambur. April 5. 15 

store lasted^ after whicli we had to rely upon tlie scant pro- 
visions of the Kurdish villages. 

Next mornings starting early on an ample breakfast of hot 
milk and bread, we soon overtook a party of Armenians wait- 
ing to join our caravan. Great sallow-faced men with heavy 
jaws and aquiline noses starting straight from their foreheads, 
bushy eyebrows and coarse black hair, they did not prepossess 
us in favour of their race. They all rode horses, either lame 
or with frightful sores upon their backs, perched upon a 
mountain of rugs and mattresses, like inverted snails set upon 
their horses. Coats, kettles, tin pots, and other utensils hung 
from every available point of the animals, or were piled upon 
the saddle so that the whole erection reached not far from 
ten feet high. 

We were passing through country far richer than the 
previous day, green valleys and hill slopes covered with 
anemones and periwinkles. Down by the streams countless 
goats and sheep fed, tended by shepherds of the old poetic 
type. Over a green slope came an aged herdsman, ugly and 
brown, seated on a tiny donkey that listened wrapt to the 
mournful strains of the reed pipe he played. Then in pro- 
cession came two great yellow dogs, crop-eared and solemn ; 
and next, with the cares of many generations on his neck, the 
father of the flock, followed close by a crowd of goats and 
«heep and lambs and kids bleating fit to break their silly 
hearts and drowning the quaint vagaries of the old man^s 
pipe. Further on was another scene of patriarchal memories, 
a well with the stone rolled off the mouth, and children 
pelting the cattle with stones to let the goats and sheep drink 
their fill. Men were drawing the water in great skins to pour 
into the troughs, while women saw fair play done among the 
beasts. '' And hither were all the flocks gathered ; and 
they rolled the stone from the well's mouth and watered the 
sheep, and put the stone again upon the well's mouth in. his 

In the evening we were to sup with our Armenian com- 
panions. The less said of that meal the better, except that we 
enjoyed one admirable dish of fine wheat boiled in milk. But 




f 16 Zambur to Birijik. April 6, 

I : : . — 

j for the rest eggs swimming in brilliant yellow grease, none too 

I sweet, with sardines, and above all sardine oil, with the 

' flavour of the tin upon it, how they enraptured our hosts ! 

Day followed day monotonously enough, nor did the 
character of the country change much on the west side of the 
river. The weather seemed set for an eternal summer, and 
everything looked its best in the springtime of the year. 
Only as we started at four or five o'clock in the morning did 
we feel the cold, and caused much merriment among the 
Kurdish villagers by our strange wide-awake hats, and the gay 
rugs with which we kept ourselves warm. But as soon as the 
sun was up we were plunged into summer warmth and^ 
I hoisting umbrellas, began to look out eagerly for wayside 

! wells. 

* As we mounted the ridges that overlook the Euphrates 
^ valley by gradual stages, the heat grew more intense than 
J ever, until my katirji, " excellent minion " that he was, as he 

" mounted and marched " just before me on his tiny donkey, 

* fell fast asleep. The heat overcame the donkey too, so that 
■ suddenly, without any warning, she gave way and precipitated 
f the big man on his nose. His violent language was soon 

drowned by the laughter of his fellow katirjis, delighted at 
the discomfiture of a rival : and it was some time before the 
caravan recovered its equilibrium, and was prepared to descend 
the slopes that lead down to the river shore. 

Thousands of goats and sheep were feeding along these 
f f hills ; and on the sandy shore were cranes and ibis, and 

ji turtles basking by the pools into which they were ready ta 

'^ slide at the sudden approach of a foe. The western shore is 

J about four hundred yards in breadth ; but on the east the 

rocks rise sheer above the water up to the platform on which 
the town of Birejik is built.* This first view of Mesopotamia, 
with its ancient frontier town, the Zeugma of the Lower 
Empire, was exceedingly beautiful. The early evening light 
illumined the massive ruins of the castle towards the norths 







I ■ 

■ I 
•' t 

* Ainsworth (i. 214) gives an admirable descriptioii of this town, as of all 
the country between it and Antiooh. The sculptures in the castle described 
by Badger (i. 351) are no longer to be seen. 


Crossing the Euphrates. 17 

jutting out upon a crest of chalk into the broad stream^ and 
southwards the long line of houses crowded in between the 
water and the hills. Lower down among some palm trees 
stood a graceful little minaret with a group of mosques and 
lattice-windowed houses looking out upon the river. Every- 
where there were trees, and higher up a cluster of tall pines, 
to which a flock of green ibis, that had been holding council, 
on the western shore, disturbed by our approach had flown 
off to watch events from a safer and more dignified seclu- 
sion. They, like the storks, hold an immemorial charter of 
protection from the reverence of the Mohammedan inhabi- 
tants of Turkey. Birejik is one of the most picturesque 
and interesting places in Mesopotamia. It was a little way 
below this town that the Euphrates Valley Expedition 
started on its course, that was at one time to have opened 
a new and important page of our Eastern history. But it 
seems that that was all a dream, to die away within half 
a score of years. 

It took nearly an hour to collect our scattered caravan 
upon the shore, ready to embark upon the most antiquely 
fashioned barge this side of India. Half-a-dozen of these 
huge arks were moored below the town, two of which soon 
made their way across the stream to the place where we were 
standing. The bows were lofty and massive, with a platform 
upon which stood a man with an immense pole shaped at the 
end for use as a rudder, and fastened at the nose of the ship. 
Embarkation was a work of some difficulty, for, although the 
beam ends were cut down nearly level with the water, yet the 
stem could only come within two or three yards of the shore, 
and everything, including the baggage mules, had to wade 
and then make a gigantic leap or scramble up on to the plat- 
form. One man seized the head, and another the tail of each 
successive beast, the one to pull the other to keep him 
straight ; everyone shouting and getting very wet, until with 
a desperate effort and all the skin off his knees, the animal 
plunged into the barge. The donkeys, who could scarcely do 
more than see over the bar, came off the worst; but my 
katirji carried his in ! Last of all the zaptieh, who in his 

18 Crossing the Euphrates, 

official soul thought to give himself airs, dashed into the water 
like a second Caesar^ determined to scale the barge or die ; 
but his horse, either having eaten too much green com, or 
wishing to spite the man, missed hold of the beam and 
getting entangled in the ropes, tumbled straight back, and 
left his valiant rider in the stream clinging to the barge. 
This damped his fine spirit, and he submitted to be helped up 
by the two murky half-clad Armenians who guided the craft 
behind. We humbler people were borne upon the backs of 
other mermen, and deposited in doubtful safety between the 
hoofs of our horses and the deep sea of the '^fourth river 
which is Euphrates/' 

It was like a dream, this passing of the Euphrates, with all 
the thoughts conjured up by the wonderful stream ; Abraham's 
flocks may have crossed here, or Senacherib passed by here 
with his hosts on the way to Jerusalem, and many a Roman 
Emperor, and Persian King, Saracen Amir, and Crusading 
Count ; but the first was the passing, on which one preferred 
to think, the passing of the great Patriarch, to whom all the 
country looks back as to its father, the man of peace and of 
submissive will, the *^ Friend of God.'' 

After a swing across and down the stream, we were towed 
up by the Arabs who stood on the middle shallows, and then 
swung right across down the full stream a hundred yards 
below the landing place, to which we were again towed 
and rowed, by men on shore and others at the helm, one 
with the great rudder, and a second with a monstrous 
puQt pole, and both with countless imprecations, while the 
rowers cried, ^'Ya Allah, ya Allah,"* keeping time to the 
oar strokes. It was a perilous voyage, especially as the 
zjiptieh's horse had elected to make himself conspicuous, 
kicking all the other horses, and ridding himself of his 
saddle, which fell into the foul bottom of the boat. But 

* I think I never heard a Moslem of the lower orders speak, but erery other 
sentence contained the name of the Almighty. The boasted regard for His 
power has a dark as well as a bright side, and a Christian cannot walk through 
any Tnrkish town without being shocked a hundred times a day by the reoklees 
use of this name. 

■; »-. 

Crossing the Euphrates, 19 

at last it was all over, and, with suiidry bakhshish, we 
escaped up to M. Tlnspecteur's office, where coffee and 
cigarettes awaited us. 

After sitting in silence for more than an hour on very hard 
official benches, the never-to-be-hurried Turkish clerk entered 
with many salams and grovelling expressions of regard, and 
some business was transacted. We retired to our khan to 
settle for the night, until an invitation came to dine at the 
bureau. This was pleasing news, nor did the dinner, d la 
Turca of course, disappoint us. We enjoyed, for the first 
time, real poisson d^Euphrate and rice pilaf, arrowroot, and 
chicken, crowned by a lordly dish of leben, or curdled milk, a 
dish for heroes on a hot day. All this we ate without knives 
or forks, sitting on small string-covered stools at a huge tin 
tray placed upon another such. The postprandial wash 
followed, very desirably, and, last of all, very delicious coffee 
and unlimited cigarettes. 

After sitting another hour in polite silence we were glad to 
bid good-night and find our way, under the guidance of our 
new zaptieh with his lantern, to our khan. No man of any 
position walks abroad at night without a lantern, varying in 
height according to his station, from one to three feet. It 
consists of a lamp placed within a huge case of glass and tin, 
and is carried almost on the ground by a servant precediug 
his master. It is a necessary precaution in such rocky streets 
as those of most Eastern towns, and explains why the Psalmist 
spoke of " I'hy word a lantern unto my feet.'' We were not 
long in falling asleep, although in the middle of the night I 
woke to hear M. Tlnspecteur's katirji complaining to the 
moon how the custom-house officer at the ferry had robbed 
him of thirty pounds Turkish for conveyiog gunpowder 
contraband from Aleppo to Mardin. When accused he was 
quite calm, and paid the money down like a man. But 
reflection brought sorrow in its train ; not that he could not 
afford the money as well as most muleteers in Turkey, but 
he had been outwitted, and, all said and done, thirty pounds 
is a good round sum in Turkish gold. In consequence, he 
never recovered his temper for the remainder of our journey. 

c 2 

20 Crossing the Euphrates, 

The rest of oar company, the five Armenians, were all 
drunk, having taken advantage of an early arrival to 
"make keif'^ in a liberal way during the evening. They 
had thus celebrated the first stage of our journey, and 
inaugurated the morrow's start to traverse the country of 
the common father, Abraham. 


Biryik to Shishan. April 7. 21 



MoHE than nsual bustle attended our departure from Birejik^ 
not only on account of our katirji's ill-humour, but of the 
very steep road that led up to the table-land above the 
river. The road, atrocious in itself, was rendered more so 
by the network of streamlets that sought their way down to 
the " Father of Rivers." It was occupied by crowds of 
quarrelsome magpies, and a company of lordly Arabs, travel- 
ling westward with long strings of camels and hungering 
after our wealth. The cold air above, and a crying sense of 
emptiness within, combined to make us thoroughly miserable. 
But as the sun arose and we began again to descend to 
smoother lands, matters improved, and the true beauty of the 
province of Osroene, the kingdom of the Abgari of Bdessa, 
began to spread itself before us. 

The country was, if anything, richer than before, and the 
outlines of the snow mountains to the north still more beau- 
tiful. But, as afternoon came on, and we were within a few 
miles of our destination for the night, down came the rain, 
with the suddenness that characterizes a break-up of fine 
weather in the East. In ten minutes, those who had no 
mackintoshes were wet through, and we had scarcely time to 
dry ourselves in the sun that blazed out as soon as the rain 
was over, when we found ourselves at the village of Shishan, 
and soon after sitting round a blazing fire with bowls of rich, 
bubbling goat^s milk before us. 

We were loth to leave these admirable quarters next 

22 Shiahan to Hawak. April 8. 

day, and start on an eight hours' ride, during which the 
rain poured without ceasing. It is impossible to imagine any- 
thing more dreary than sliding along hour after hour at a 
walking pace, while the rain soaked slowly but surely through 
one's clothes. The country for miles was enveloped in a grey 
mist, through which appeared dimly, as at a great distance, 
the other members of the caravan. All day long a gloomy 
silence reigned, save for the monotonous patter of the rain, 
and the sound of hoofs sliding in the mud. We rode over 
low stony hills with intervals of rich pasture between, and 
covered with carpets of flowers, orchids, anemones, peri- 
winkles, narcissus, and iris, which would have made the 
journey on a fine day really enjoyable. At mid-day, we rod© 
down into the loveliest valley that we had yet traversed. 
At the bottom was a small lake, round which crowded, for a 
mid-day drink, countless sheep, cattle, and horses. Frogs, too, 
in myriads, croaked at our unwelcome intrusion, and multi- 
tudes of magpies, sparrows, finches, butterflies, and moths, 
.every imaginable kind of creature, made the place alive with 
their protestations, a veritable eastern crowd. The sun came 
out for a few minutes upon a scene almost tropical in its 
.brilliancy and multitudinous variety of life. So it appeared 
in spring. Were one to return in the late summer months 
there would be, but for the whispering willows of the marsh, 
a silence like that of the Dead Sea. 

But we, being very wet, and the day not being one on which 
to enjoy eatery places, were only anxious to reach a dry floor, 
and a good fire. Yet, with the ill luck of a wet day, we took 
twice th^ usual time to find quarters that night, being directed 
first to a wretched hovel, scarcely ten feet square, and smelling* 
exclusively of cattle. Our next essay was crowned with 
success, and we found a fine new diwan, furnished with large 
windows, and an altogether unrivalled fire-place, to which we 
were glad to escape out of the rain. 

It was a stormy sun with which we rose the next 
morning, crossed by strong bars of black and purple, and 
gilding murky clouds above it. But we had only one shower 
all day, although it was a thunder shower, with pelting hail 

Hawak to Karajerun. April 9. 23 

and rain, that lasted half an hoar. The atmosphere seemed 
very clear, but everything looked dull and flat under the 
direct glare of the sun, with no shadows, and nothing to 
relieve the monotony except the lovely flowers that clothed 
every hill. It was to be a very wet spring, with numerous 
thunderstorms, lasting right through May, and we had little 
enjoyment of any kind for the remainder of our journey, while 
our poor Armenian companions seemed still worse off, for 
their bedding was very insufficiently protected. Arriving at 
Karajerun, we found the Agha of the village engaged in 
building himself a fine new house of two storeys, with 
balconies for evening use. One of these rooms he gave up to 
us, and we reached the door by riding over the roof of another 
house, and running the gauntlet of half-a-dozen fierce dogs. 
Outside the room was a group of splendid-looking Kurds 
round a small boy, a son of the Agha, who had just come in' 
with his crop-eared greyhound, carrying a fine pair of blue 
hares. He was swelling with pride, and impatient to see his 
father, who was conducting us to our quarters. He received 
all the praise he wished for, and soon started off to catch 
more hares on the other side of the village. His father 
looked proud, too, and taming to us said, " His mother is 
dead, the one I loved, and I fear he may be captured if he 
goes too far ; but I dare not send another with him ; he would 
be angry if another shared his sport. Allah guard his 
head ! " However, the child returned safely before dark, 
bringing another hare, and spent the evening nestling by his 
father near our fire. The Agha, in his zeal to make our room 
cheerful, had ordered a fire to be lit, but the wind being in a 
wrong quarter, and there being no windows, it was soon full 
of smoke. The fire was of the animal fuel, so largely used in 
villages where wood is scarce, of which the smoke is 
peculiarly thick and unpleasant. It much disconcerted the 
swallows, who had engaged spring quarters in the beams of 
the newly-built room, and made matters so much worse by 
their excited chatter that no one could hear his own proposals 
for remedying the state of affairs, to say nothing of those of 
his neighbour. At last a man of action arose, and suggested 

24 Kerajerum to Sewerek — April 10. 

that the two large stones closing the holes that served for 
windows in the wall should be knocked out, upon which out 
came smoke and swallows in a procession that lasted nearly 
half an hour. We entered and took possession, but, in spite 
of the hospitality of the worthy Agha, we did not sleep very 
well that night ; there were too many swallows, not to mention 
smaller creatures, about. 

The Agha, whose house was, as usual among the Kurds, the 
meeting place for the whole village after the sun went down, 
entertained us hospitably, while a regular succession of small 
coffee-cups was handed round by one of his sons. In these 
rooms there is always a professional coffee maker sitting in 
the middle serving out the beverage to anyone who comes 
in, in number according to his degree. It was eleven o'clock 
before the company broke up, the Agha retiring to his 
''harim,'' and only a few strangers remaining in one room. 
It is a rule in these villages that every traveller can claim 
hospitality at the house of the chief man, who receives a 
certain amount from the other men of the village to maintain 
the hospitality. 

The next day after a ride in the rain over terribly 
heavy ground, with the thermometer at 45**, and our tempers 
nowhere, we arrived at the town of Sewerek, of all places I 
visited the very dirtiest and most odorous, always however 
excepting, in the latter character, Mardin, that Cologne of 
Mesopotamia. But the town contained several good khans, 
in one of which, near the market-place, we established 
ourselves, fortunate to have a good room, with glazed 
windows, and the prospect of a more civilized meal than 
those to which we had been lately accustomed. At this 
time I did not know that there were Old Syrians in the 
town, and therefore did not avail myself of the hospitality 
which in the absence of their Bishop they pressed upon me 
at their church on my return journey. 

In November I brought a letter from Diarbekr. The priest, 
however, and some of the chief Syrians, entertained me 
admirably, putting the Bishop's diwan at my disposal, and 
providing an excellent supper. At the evening service, I was 

.Sewerek. 25 

a little startled daring the singing of psalms to see the priest 
auddenly dart oat from his place^ and summarily expel a 
Moslem boy, who had come in to mock. Whether he would 
have stayed to pray or not I do not know ; but he at any rate 
had not the chance. The Bishop had come some months 
since from Midhiat, a large village in Tebel Tur, in order to 
superintend the building of this church, and was to return as 
fioon as it was completed. 

The Qaimakam, or governor of the town, on whom we 
called in order to o))tain a fresh zaptieh, was an intelligent- 
looking Turk, dressed ^'a la Frauga,'^ with his lower 
garments attached in the usual precarious fashion. He sat 
in a large diwan, attended by a great number of servants and 
soldiers, and was inclined to be more or less polite in con- 
sideration of M. rinspecteur's office. 

But to return to our khan with the glazed windows. As 
we sat there waiting for some supper, various persons entered 
to transact business with my companion. Clerks and 
inspectors came, all equally unpromising to look upon. One 
came in who had an eye so forbidding that I felt nervous* 
M. I'lnspecteur was as usual immovable, and, bearing the 
glare of tjhe eye with a fortitude worthy of the occasion, 
motioned the man to a comer of our impromptu diwan. He 
walked forward with a sickly obeisance, shed his shoes after 
the manner of a snake, and sliding down on to his heels, sat 
with a vacant stare awaiting his chiefs commands. Th9 
latter was an honest man, and inspired fear in the bosom of 
this clerk, a true type of many a minor official, mean, cruel 
and cringing. Others came in to sit and talk, until our 
8upper arrived ; but none were so ill-favoured in face and 
manner as this fellow. 

There are the remains of a castle and a fine mosque in 
Sewerek ; but we had no opportunity to visit them, nor was 
my companion interested in anything of the kind. So we 
retired soon after supper to sleep, in view of an early start 
next day for another eight hours in the rain. 

About twenty miles south-west of Sewerek we passed a 
large stone carved on its upper surface with a fine Maltese 

26 Sewerek to Kainak, April 11. 

I . I T 

cross, a relic of the days when there were Christian Connts 
of Edessa. Just outside Mardin^ again, there is a fine old 
Saracenic building, yaulted and pillared, seemingly a fountain 
house ; and across the wall of one room is a true old 
Plantagenet leopard, painted in black colour, some eight feet 
long, a fine memorial of the days when the cross was in the 
ascendant in this land. 

In the same district we saw remains of Roman pavement^ 
and a great many ancient stone wells and reservoirs, pointing 
to former civilization of the province. 

Leaving Sewerek, we passed out over a country of black soil> 
well planted with wheat and grapes. Further Out, where 
habitations ceased, flowers began to abound, marsh tulips> 
and purple orchids lining every stream. The black stone, of 
which the town is built, cropped up everywhere, and the way 
was enlivened by multitudes of lovely birds. There were 
numbers of the graceful little owls from Sewerek, attracting 
notice by the lovely rose tinge of their wings, black and white 
tits, great hawks, yellow, white, and black, beside a host of 
wagtails and hoopoes, and a small bird not unlike a blackcap> 
but very distinctly marked with white and black. Down by 
every stream was a heron or two, on every tree or ruined 
building a crane or stork, and always before us marched a 
goodly company of crested larks and magpies, with a dozen 
more beside. But there was little to enjoy in all this under 
an unceasing downpour of rain, and all we could think of was^ 
how much further remained of the road to Diarbekr. 

The road from Sewerek to Diarbekr is not a little thought 

of by the great men of the earth in these parts, and 

adequately represents its class. All that can be said of it is 

that it is not the worst in Turkey. Stones the largest and 

; roundest that could be found, collected from all round by the 

forced and unpaid labour of the village people, were laid 
promiscuously in muddy weather upon what was once a good 
caravan track, so that it was hard to know whether to follow 
a track upon the wilderness of boulders where each horse 
placed his foot exactly where the one in front placed his, or to 
wade through the marsh below. An especially aggravating 

A Turkish Road. 27 

feature of this road was, that in places where a little 
engineering was required, either to cut through a piece of 
•rock, or carry a bridge over a ravine or marsh, the . good 
builders of it lost heart, and, like a ghost that has been never 
laid, or only badly laid, the road kept disappearing and 
coming up again at irregular intervals. Imagine such a road 
over the dreariest of hillsides, the lower spurs of the Karaja- 
dagh, where barren trees clutched the thin soil, and the grey 
rocks lay about like bones pushing through a half-starved 
horse ; where the shrubs looked as if they grew there to spite 
each other, the very evil spirits of dry oaks, withered, 
bristling with a few scraggy branches just to boast their 
nakedness. All this was a scene for Childe Roland : 

*' I think I never saw 
Snoh Btorved, igpioble Nature ; nothing throve. 
For flowers — as weU expect a cedar grove ! 
Bat cockle, sparge, according to their law 
Might propagate their kind, with none to awe, 
Toa'd think : a borr had been a treasure trove." 

There were two halts between Sewerek and Diarbekr, of 
which the first, Kainak, called from its boundless seas of 
mud, was, of all the villages I lodged in, the foulest and 
most ill-provided. It provided, however, three additions to 
our party ; the one a very solemn young man, shoeless, with 
lank black hair and red silk trousers, accompanied by a tiny 
donkey, and an ancient man, his father. It was a nice little 
donkey, and he was a nice old man, always looking at his 
watch for prayer time, which he observed most diligently. 
But the young man was very dull ; I think he had once cut 
off the donkey^s tail in a rage, and never forgiven himself. 
Regularly as clockwork he raised a long metal key, and 
smote the little creature on the quarters, and each time the 
ass gave a surprised reproving leap, as if it was his first 
experience of the key, and subsided again into his former 
measured tread. 

The last night was spent at a large khan, five hours from 
Diarbekr. It was full of men and beasts of all kinds, amongst 
whom were some Nestorian priests on the way to Urmi. 

28 Sersink Khan to DiarbeJer. April 13, 

They had been to Aleppo, and were glad to meet an English- 
man, before whom to parade the few words they had learned 
; of the language from the English missionaries to their Church. 

\ They joined us for the last day, with another man, an 

j unfortunate with the whole of one side paralysed. We 

f gave him what we could to eat, and helped him along a 

* little. I saw him a week later in Mardin, while I was buy- 

• ing some embroideries. It was a heart-rending sight; but 

there are many such in Turkey, where such poor creatures 
"''afflicted of God" get little sympathy, being left to 

^ wither in the streets, or find a last home, for some petty 

theft, in prison. 

Just as we were riding over the last hill into Diarbekr — 
and a glorious view of the Black city, the Kara-Amid, 
appeared across the plain — ^we met two other miserable men, 
hurrying towards Sewerek. They begged some ahns, and, 
having got a few paras, hastened on, until a happy thought 
seemed to strike the zaptieh. He rode after them, and, 
having asked some questions, finally assui'ed himself that 
they were prisoners escaped from Diarbekr. The righteous 
indignation from the man of office rose to bursting ; down he 
bore upon them, knocked them off the road, and threatened 
to whip them to death if they did not immediately follow him 
into the town. Down they went on their knees, with the 
result that he nearly rode over them, and then fled. He 

I made as though he would shoot them, then remembering 

that we were by, muttered that he would telegraph from the 

{ next village to Sewerek for police to catch them. Poor 

i wretches, we hoped they got away. 

We rode slowly down towards a rich plain, along an aque- 
duct bringing the fresh water of Karajadagh down to the 
city. Some good Pasha had made this channel, or, more 
probably, restored a Roman work, covering it in with stone. 
But thirsty travellers had broken it open, or, perhaps, wanton 
Kurds, for every fifty yards it was open to the air, and used 
not only for drinking, but the daily lavations of the Moslem 
villagers. We were at the end of our journey, and glad of it, 
considering the rain and the difficulty which I had in com- 

Abraham's Country. 29 

mnnicating with any member of the carayan^ from M. 
I'Inspectear down to my great katirji. 

Half way between Sewerek and the Euphrates a road leads, 
southwards from Karajerun to Urfa. Being anxious to visit 
this city^ hallowed in the minds of Syrians and Moslems alike 
as the home of their father Abraham^ I determined on my 
journey homewards in November to choose this route, rather 
than that by which I had travelled in the spring ; the rather 
as it was the seat of one of the chief Bishops of the Syrian 
Church. I shall, perhaps, be excused, therefore, if I turn 
out of my way to give some short account of this most 
interesting and beautiful city before finishing my journey to 

From Karajerun to Urfa was a long and tedious ride, made 
more so by the early November rains, which had transformed 
a hard and level caravan road to the semblance of a ploughed 
field. Our katirji was, moreover, a bad-tempered man, and 
loudly complained of the heavy loads, rendered doubly heavy 
by the soaking rain. For the last two hours, during which 
we ploughed through dense mud up the hill that leads to 
Urfa, he never ceased from a low undertone of imprecations 
on our heads and the heads of all European travellers. 
Biding for twelve hours in such weather over such ground 
was certainly trying to any man's temper, ours no less than 
his ; but there was no help for it but to draw meagre comfort 
from the " Kismat " of Islam. 

Passing a large encampment of camels we seemed to thread 
interminable gardens before we found the Convent of St. 
Gteorge, whither we had been directed. Late in the evening 
we arrived and had some difficulty in awaking the old gate- 
keeper, who slept in a room some way from the door, and in 
revenge for the disturbance we caused, showed us a room 
without volunteering any offer of supper. We made up some 
sort of a fire, and, contenting ourselves with such food as we 
had with us, retired early, to sleep off the effects of a very 
tiring day. 

The following day was Sunday, so, by force of habit, waking 
early, I went into the church, where I found an old friend^ 



■ » 

30 The Syrian Bishop of Urfa, 

one of the monks of Deir-el-Za'aferan, the monastery in which 
I spent the summer, commencing the celebration of the 
Eucharist. It was a fine church, newly re-built among the 
gardens just outside the town to the south-west, where was 
once a large monastery. The only adornment of the church 
consisted in some good coloured glass behind the altar ; all 
cjse was white and bare.* The congregation was small, as 
the church was at some distance from the town, and most of 
the Syrians preferred to attend the large church in the 
monastery within the town. There was, however, one little 
group of worshippers which attracted my attention — half a 
dozen small boy-deacons, in long blue tunics, a uniform of 
those who attended at the school by this church. As soon as 
service, which lasted three hours, was over, we were con- 
ducted by the chief deacon, a large man in an astrakan coat, 
to see the Bishop, whose diwan was attached to the church 
within the town walls. 

This church of the Syrians in Urfa is a large building, and 
has a considerable number of rooms attached to it, some 
of which form the house of the Bishop, and others apart- 
ments for clergy and visitors. Morning service had been 
finished only a short time, and the diwan was, in conse- 
quence, full of people paying the regular Sunday visit to 
the Bishop. From a broad balcony, reached by a handsome 
stone staircase, and with a fine balustrade of Italian style, 
j we entered a pleasant room, to which the gaily-papered 

: walls gave a most unusual appearance of comfort. At the 

ond of the room, seated on a low diwan was the Bishop, 
Oeorgios, an old man with a long white beard, and the 
most kindly and intelligent face that one could w^ish to 
see. A grey Angora cat sat on his knee, enjoying the 
\ high honour of reposing on his lordship's silk Sunday robe ; 

1 and a busy hum of talking was going on among the few 

I priests and laymen who sat at the top of the room. After 


• This church was built about fifty years agro, and is peculiar in having' 
the women's gallery over the west door (so built at Dr. Bad^er'tf Haggestion), 
instead of in one of the aisles. 

The City of Urfa. ' 31 

the asaal formalities were over^ and it was understood that 
I had been the Patriarch's guest at Mardin^ the flow of 
conversation continued. 

There were few people whom I met among the Syrians who 
combined so much charm of manner with real intelligence and 
kindliness as this old Bishop. He was a great favourite with 
the Patriarch, and always has taken his place as his represen- 
tative when the latter has been abroad. Urfa is, moreover, a 
more civilised and modem place than either Mardin or Mosul, 
of which the evidence is manifest in the behaviour of its in- 

After an admirable breakfast, the Bishop deputed one of 
his younger deacons to take us to see the town, one of the 
most picturesque in interior Turkey, 

Being built half way up the Jebel Nimrud, on a hill above 
a rushing torrent, it never lacks water, or the sound of the 
perpetual fountain that gained for it in the old days the name 
Callirrhoe. Water in basins, in drinking places, in small 
mills, water in the torrents, in the springs, and down the 
sides of streets, everywhere is heard the same bubbling 
sound so dear to Oriental ears. And with it are trees innumer- 
able, great forest trees in the gardens, with walnuts and 
pomegranates, and fruit of all sorts; gardens everywhere, 
within and without the town ; and, a thing seldom to be seen 
in an Eastern town, the large court-yard of the Serai grass- 
grown, with seats and spreading trees on either side. The 
bazars, too, and the streets seem all to share in the charm 
that water lends ; nowhere else are there such vaulted cor- 
ridors, tall and airy, for the market, such splendid caravan- 
serais, built by some munificent old Turk, of an order since 
passed away ; and where, above all, can . be matched the 
exquisite Mosque of ^' Ibrahim-el-Khalil '' — Abraham, the 
Friend of God — ^with its stately minaret and marble court- 
yards reflected in the silent, shady pool ? 

The city is walled, but the walls, which are in circuit 
between two and three miles, do not enclose the citadel, nor 
many other public buildings. Masses of rock terraces a})pear 
all round the gardens outside the town, and among the 

82 The Great Mosque. 

• I 

■ t 

• i 


vineyards cemeteries stretch far in every direction, bearing* 
witness to the antiquity of the town. In one of these vine- 
yards is a spring remarkable for the way in which at' 
certain times it gushes oat with great roaring and foam ; it 
t supplies the stream Daisan^ which runs in the deep ravina 

in the middle of the city^ and even in summer forms- 
somewhat of a torrent. 

From the citadel above the town may be seen a glorious- 
view over the lower spurs of the hills toward the range of 
Abd-el-Aziz. There is little of interest left in this buildings 
except two columns with Corinthian capitals, and an old 
Syriac ioscription, containing a reference to Hadrian. The- 
outside is more imposing, especially the moat, cut out of 
the living rock, said by Dr. Badger to be 90ft. wide by 250ft^ 

The great mosque of Urfa, the *' Olur Jamisi," had, like the- 
mosque at Diarbekr, been once a Christian church, of which 
the nave has been turned into a courtyard. In the latter were* 
many capitals and pillars of Roman workmanship, some ranged 
round a fountain of later date, and a tall hexagonal belfry at 
the top of a square tower. It is now used as a minaret for the* 
mosque, and is an object of great beauty, especially the 
hexagon, which seems to belong to a later date than the tower, 

■ r perhaps to that of the Crusades. 

r ? But by far the most beautiful building in Urfa is the 

; mosque of Abraham. Down below the western wall of the 

citadel, over the side of which could be seen the pillars,. 

^ , forming, report says, part of the machine with which Nimrod 

f ' hurled Abraham down into the furnace he kindled at the 

spot, is a basin, built of beautiful white marble, some 

f . eighty yards long. The water, supplied by springs a little 

to the north, is of exquisite clearness, and filled with, as 
one traveller who counted them asserts, twenty thousand 

^: and one fat carp, descendants of the fish that the great 

Patriarch loved ! All round are gardens of pomegranates, 
from which the pool is called the Basin of Pomegranates,, 
and by the water^s edge is' a broad paved way, on which 

, the pious may stand well provided with maize by the ever 



■ $ 


f ' 



The Christians of Urfa. 33 

present vendors, and pay honour to the " Friend/' by feeding 
his fish.* 

The great beauty of the Saracenic front to the mosque, with 
its exquisite minarets and light arches, was further increased 
by the groves of beautiful trees, just turning to autumn tints, 
and the delightful sense of shade and coolness. A graceful 
little kiosk stands at one end of the pool, and is connected 
with the mosque by the buildings in whicb the teachers and 
students of the place live. 

The city contains about four thousand families of Armenians, 
five hundred of Old Syrians, five hundred American, and a 
few Latin converts. It is within the borders of the Armenian 
country, and there is constant friction between them and the 
Turkish officials, whose suspicions of the Armenians have 
been, during the last few years, carried to an almost intolerable 
point.t It was most remarkable to notice the change in 
freedom of speech and general toleration of the Christians as 
one came from Mardin — practically a Syrian town — to Urfa, 
where Armenians form the bulk of the Christian population. 
This has its effect on the Syrians, whom I found here far 
more nervous and less ready openly to greet a stranger than 
the inhabitants of cities further south. Nor were they so 
willing to show the books and other things contained in their 
fine new church. The church is dedicated to S. Peter and 
S. Paul, and is much larger than most, being, like that of the 
Armenians, built more after the Western plan, with naves 
and aisles quite separate. In the Armenian church is a 
picture which the deacon hesitatingly shows as that which 
was sent by our Lord to Abgarus.^ It is a printed handker- 
chief, with the head of Christ, of the late Renaissance type. 

* Ainsworth considers these fish a remnant of the old fish- worship of Syria. 
It is not impossible that the Christian symbolism of the fish is connected with 
this worship, i. 199. 

t This is strongly borne oat by Dr. Badger, i., 329, who giYeu a rather fnll 
acooant of his visit to Urfa. 

{ The original is said by tradition to hare been sold by the Saracens to the 
Conrt of Constantinople for 12,000 pounds weight of silrer and the redemption 
of 200 Moslem oaptires, and a perpetaal trace for the province of Edeesa. 


84 Abraham^s Country, 

More interesting is the picture of the Holy Virgin and 
Child, richly framed, and said to have been painted by 
S. Thaddaeus, one of the Seventy. These two churches 
are among the very finest built in modern times in the East, 
and their size and general character bears witness to the 
improvement in the general position of the Christians under 
the rule of the Porte.* 

When I had seen the whole town, calling on the various 
church dignitaries of the place, I returned to the Bishop 
for supper, and, having bade farewell with all the for- 
malities such a process demands in the East, retired to 
the church without the walls, where we were lodging. 
It was a pleasant place, with its gardens and fountains, 
and we were sorry to have to prepare for an early start 
towards Birejik. 

Urfa may justly claim to be one of the most ancient cities of 
the world. For years the home of Abraham and Laban, it rose 
again into importance fifteen hundred years later as a 
Ma<;edonian town under the name of Antiochoea ad 


" And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran 
his son's son, and Sarai, his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's 
wife; and they went forth with them from the Ur of the 
Chaldees to go into the land of Canaan ; and they came unto 
Haran and dwelt there." 

About twenty-five miles south-west of Urfa, and ten miles 
west of Harran, is the district of Seruj, well watered — a 
tempting spot upon the highway of Assyrians, Greeks, and 
Romans, known later to the Romans as Batnae, or Batna 
Sergi, the name Batnae meaning, in its Syriac original, " the 
meeting of waters in a valley.'' Remains of colossal lions 
point to its connection with Assyrian kings. But the district 

* This remark does not have reference to the Armenians generally. The 
Imperial policy with regard to them depends on local inflnenoes, and on 
influences not connected with a general policy towards Christians. 

t Ainsworth, ii., 414, discutfises, in a most interesting appendix, the whole 
question of the Fatherland of Abraham and his genealogy, with the significanoe 
of the names scattered about this locality (np. also Badger, i., 331). 

Ahraham^s Country, 35 

is perhaps most interesting as bearing the name of the grand- 
father of Terah. Terah was the father of Nahor, and we find 
in Genesis xxiv. 10, that Harau is called the city of Nahor. 
Now Haran was the name of Abram's brother, and *' Haran 
died before his father, Terah, in the land of his nativity, in 
Ur of the Chaldees^' (Gen. xi. 26). 

There are, therefore, three sites — Urfa, Harran, and 
Seruj — all bearing names that would lead one to identify this 
country with the country where the Patriarchs settled after 
leaving their ancient home in Chaldea. It is generally con- 
sidered that the original Ur of the Chaldees was in the land 
of Babylonia, and it has been identified with Warka in 
Chaldea, as well as with Mukayir, '^ the place of bitumen," 
on the right bank of the Euphrates, for we read how, 
" journeying from the East, they found a plain in the land of 
Shinar .... and they had brick for stone, and bitu- 
men had they for mortar." (Gen. xi. 2.) And it was there 
seemingly that Babel was built. 

Apart from the identity of the names, local tradition is very 
strong in identifying " Abraham's fatherland " with the dis- 
trict round Urfa. Here are the fish beloved by him; here it 
was that Nimrod cast him into the furnace. At a spot not 
far below Birejik the Arabs assert that their great Father 
lost many of his cattle in crossing the Euphrates. Again, in 
the Old Testament narrative, it was to the city of Nahor that 
Abram sent his servant to seek a wife for Isaac (Gen. xxiv. 10), 
and hither it was that Jacob came, when he dwelt with Laban, 
Rebekah's brother, in the land of Padan-Aram, or Mesopo- 
tamia (Gen. xxviii. 7). When he fled from Laban's wrath he 
passed over the great river, the Perath, or the Phrat, as the 
Arabs still call the Euphrates ; and Laban pursued him seven 
days to Gilead, which is actually some 300 miles on the 
direct way to the " South Country," that is, the country 
south of Jerusalem, where Jacob dwelt. Now 300 miles 
is just about the distance a man in great haste would be likely 
to travel in seven days. Again, it was from Padan-Aram 
that Jacob came to Shalem, in the land of Canaan (Gen. 
xxxiii. 18). Thus it is that Dr. Ainsworth concludes that 

D 2 

36 History of Edessa, 

TJrfa still marks the site of the home of Abraham, and thus 
we find that Eastern tradition is a good guide in regard to the 
history related in the books of the Old Testament.* 

Of the Macedonian and Roman occupations of IJrfa, or 
Edessa^t as its name became^ little is known^ except that near 
here, at Charrae, almost certainly the same as Haran^ great 
disaster befel the Roman arms under Crassus. Edessa be- 
came (a.d. 14) the seat of Abgarus the Second, who rebuilt 
the city. The first Abgarus lived at Abgar Shat, which 
has been thought to be Nisibis, and was the man who con- 
tributed to the defeat of Crassus. It was his successor^ 
of whom Eusebius relates the widely-received story of a 
correspondence with our Lord. Eusebius relates of S* 
Thaddaaus, " that after Christ's resurrection from the dead 
and his His ascent into heaven, Thomas, one of the twelve 
Apostles, under divine inspiration, sent Thaddaaus, who was 
also numbered among the seventy disciples, to Edessa as. 
a preacher and evangelist of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.^' 

Caracalla sent the last of the princely house of Abgarus 
in chains to Rome. Later the same city saw the capture of 
Valerian by Sapur the First. In Heraclius's day it fell into 
the hands of the Saracens, and has remained subject to the 
Moslems ever since, with the exception of the forty years 
during which it formed a principality of the Crusaders under 
Baldwin in 1097 a.d. While the wave of conquest swept the 
Saracens westwards, Edessa fell, in 1144, before Zenghis, 
Prince of the Atabaks of Syria, who celebi'ated his victory by 
a frightful slaughter, thereby rousing the spirit of hori'or that 
inspired the second Crusade. Again, it was the scene of 
devastation, on account of its prominent position, and was 

* It is remarkable in oonneotion with the number of Tazidis in this district, 
that the Arabs and other natives hold the tradition that it was Job's home. 
The Bir-Ayub, near the south gate, is a '*ziyarah/' or place of pilgrimag-e ; and 
it is mentioned in the Book of Job that he was plundered by the Sabiana 
(Job i. 15) or Chaldeans (cp. chapter on the Tazidis). The name Ur — fire or 
light (cp. Isaiah xxiy. 15), supports this, referring, no doubt, to the ancient 
fires of the (Jhaldeans. There is at Haran also the ruin of a temple to th» 

t Edessa became a Boman colony in 216, under Severus. 


The University of Edessa, 37 

ravaged by Hulagu tKe Mogul, and the terrible Tamerlane 
the Tartar. With its final conquest by the Seljukian Selim, 
who restored the ancient name of Urfa, it attained a certain 
respite from trouble, which it has enjoyed until the present 

Most interesting for us, however, is Urfa, as the seat of a 
great university in the fifth century. Here it was that 
Nestorius gained so many followers after his condemnation at 
Ephesus ; and to such a height had his influence reached, 
that in 489 the Emperor Zeno broke up the- school. The 
Bishop Rabulas, a strong adherent of Cyril, had done much, 
some time before, to suppress the teaching, and had thereby 
driven its authors into Persia, where it was freelv tolerated. 
The school, having been closed by Zeno, was transferred to 
Nisibis, another great centre of religious teaching, which has 
remained, with a small portion of its ancient glory, to the 
present day. But both places have passed into the hands of 
the Jacobite Syrians, and the Nestorians have practically 
disappeared from this side of the Tigris. 

Lastly, Edessa was the home of a greater than these, the 
holy Efrem (Ephraim) the Syrian, a man beyond all others 
since apostolic days honoured of the Syrian Church, which 
sings his hymns, and reveres his writings to this day. Near 
to Edessa on the south side he is said to be buried, and on 
his tomb the holy Eucharist is consecrated by the Syrians. 
Hence, too, came his beloved teacher, St. James of Nisibis ; 
hence, too, another James, he who consolidated the old 
Syrian Church in the sixth century. Strange that from the 
same city should have come Ibas and Barsumas, the great 
teachers of Nestorian doctrine to the East, and James 
Bardoeus, raised to be Bishop of Edessa, who lived to be the 
bulwark of a church that has ever claimed Cyril as one of its 
greatest fathers. 


38 Diarhekr. April 13. 



It is time to resume our journey on the road from which we 
turned back to visit Urfa. It was the last stage on the road 
to Diarbekr ; nor had we long left the khan of Sersink before 
we caught sight of black walls about towers and domes that 
gleamed in the rising sun. High above the Tigris rocks fifty 
white-capped minarets stood clear against the sky ; and round 
the walls for miles stretched groves and gardens, with here 
and there a country lodge nestling among them. 

The old name of Black Amida has been changed to 
Diarbekr, black from the basaltic rocks of which the walls and 
houses are built. Splendid walls they are, like some old Greek 
fortress, and thick enough to contain many a large chamber, 
and form a fine road upon the top. The rain had cleared off, 
and the sun came out in full brilliance as we approached the 
town. It was early spring, and the contrast of the brilliant 
green of the gardens with the gloomy walls, which they 
encircle, was exceeding beautiful. Fruit wonderful in variety 
and quantity is grown in these gardens, in one of which Mr. 
Palgrave has laid the scene of his faithful and romantic story 
of Eastern life, " Hermann Agha." 

Past pools peopled by thousands of croaking frogs we rode 
up to the ''Bab-er-Rum,^' or great gate of Diarbekr. My 
baggage mule, impelled by thirst or the Siren charms of the 
frogs, rushed headlong into the water, and was rescued only 
by the gallant efforts of my katirji upon his tiny donkey. A 
dozen soldiers lounged about the gate, near which was once 

An Escaped Thief. 39 

the entrance to the great Syrian Monastery of the Virgin. 
They were busy sunning themselves^ and we had almost 
passed into the town before one of their namber, on whom 
the lot fell to exert himself, came up and demanded our 
^' teskerehs '* or passports. M. I'Inspecteur presented his 
papers^ and passed faithlessly on to lodge with the French 
Consul. I unfortunately had no " teskereh '* ; for what with 
my ignorance and the hurry at Aleppo, I had no time to 
obtain this very necessary document, and had determined to 
run the chance of possible difficulties, depending instead upon 
my English passport. So far I had escaped ; but Diarbekr 
being a town of military pretensions, the seat, too, of a 
'' wali," or governor of a province, I was marched off without 
ceremony to the police station. This was a gross breach of 
etiquette, foreigners always having the right to be examined, 
if necessary, at the house of their Consul. But being ignorant 
of this I rode meekly after the soldier, who drew my attention 
with evident pride, but in an unknown tongue, to the walls 
and antique fortifications of the town, which made up amply 
in his eyes for the entire abience of more modern means of 
defence. We soon reached a large court before the " Serai,'' 
or government buildings, on one side of which was the police 
station. Here sundry amiable officials strolled about in an 
obsequious manner ; one of whom asked for my passport with 
the politest of bows. It was handed to him, and became the 
object of extreme wonder; lions with tails like strawberry- 
runners, one-horned stags with tails to match the lions, 
curious pictures of Herculean men, samples of botany and 
the musical art, and to crown all an official possessed of such a 
multifarious designation as ''The most honourable the Marquess 
of Salisbury." They turned it this way and that, looked at 
it through magnifying glasses, and finally having found 
nothing authentic upon it but a Turkish seal, which having 
been affixed in London where Gladstone (not a popular 
personage among the Turks) lives, was probably false, they 
handed it back in despair, and sent a zaptieh to scour the 
land for some one who could speak English, French, or German; 
or, failing these, Latin, the last a forlorn hope indeed, for the 

40 A Syrian Bishop, 

interpretation of a modern passport to a Turkish police-officer. 
After half an hour a young Chaldean arrived, who had 
learned some French in the Jesuit college of Beirut. With a 
great effort I summoned all of that language that I knew, 
and adjured him by the length of his father's beard to help 
me to explain the mystery of the rampant lion and the 
Herculean men, laying due stress at the same time on the 
majesty of the name of Salisbury, than whom no European 
inspires greater respect in the East. However the Chaldean 
explanation failed to satisfy the official, for whose letter- 
abiding mind it was enough that I had no teskereh. I heard 
afterwards that a telegram had arrived from Aleppo, saying 
that a prisoner had escaped thence, and gone towards 
Diarbekr. Escaped prisoners do not generally have 
teskerehs ; 1 had no teskereh ; obviously, I was the fugitive ! 
Could the case be clearer to a Turkish official with his mind 
firmly fixed on possible bakhshish ? 

After waiting another hour for something to turn up, no 
one knew or cared quite what or whence, the welcome form 
of Mutran Abdullah, Bishop of the Old Syrians in Diarbekr, 
appeared. Having spent two years in England, he proved of 
great service in explaining the situation, and was about to 
carry me ofi* to his house, when the servant of the British 
Vice-Consul arrived, with an invitation to come direct to his 
house. The Bishop was an exceedingly handsome and 
refined-looking man, and the dignity of his appearance was 
considerably enhanced by his long black cloak, purple cassock, 
and silver-mounted ebony staff. He walked slowly up, pre- 
ceded by the head priest of the Syrians, and said in fairly 
correct English that he was delighted to see anyone from his 
friends in London, but '^ ashamed ^^ to find me in such circum- 
stances. Why did I not inform him of my coming that he 
might send some of his people to meet and bring me to his 
house ? 

We threaded a dozen dirty narrow streets before we reached 
the house of the Consul, whom we found with his kind 
English wife sitting under a patriarchal fig tree, and prepared 
with invitations for me to remain as long as possible in their 


Sects in Turkey, April 13. 41 

house. No doabt the arrival of a stranger from England is 
a pleasant incident in the lives of exiles from their native 
land ; but I cannot forbear to add my witness to that of 
others, who record the uniform kindness and hospitality of 
our consuls and other residents in these little- visited comers 
of the world. Mr. and Mrs. Boyajian were no exception to 
the rule, and several very pleasant days were passed in their 
house, until the Bishop had made his preparations to receive 
me at the church. The latter regretted the arrangement, but 
I am afraid that I scarcely disguised my unwillingness to 
leave a comfortable English house, when its hospitality was so 
kindly pressed upon me. 

I had been on one day in contact with four diflferent 
nationalities and churches, to say nothing of their Papal 
and Protestant varieties, namely, Old Syrian, Nestorian, 
English, and Armenian. Three Nestorian priests had been 
our companions for the last day's journey into Diarbekr ; I 
had brought letters of introduction to Giusep Efendi, a Papal 
Armenian ; the Consul was a Protestant Armenian ; Mrs. 
Boyajian, English; and our friend the Bishop, Old Syrian. 
Talk of sects in England ; they are but a tithe of the divisions 
of this land; there are enough to set a fire of odium 
theologicum ablaze all through Asia. God grant it may burn 
for light and not for destruction. Yet, for all this, there is a 
toleration among the sects, not of the doctrines, but of the 
persons of others, that is truly edifying. It is most striking, 
when one first visits the East, to find a mixed company 
thoroughly enjoying each other's society, which, when 
analysed, would be found to contain an Old Syrian or two, a 
Protestant, half-a-dozen Moslems, and a substantial quota of 
the Papal varieties. Yet they are all talking together in 
perfect good-fellowship, smoking each other's cigarettes, and 
discussing with quite marvellous tact the latest political news. 
This in the towns ; in the villages, knives are apt to come out. 
But there is far more interchange of external politeness 
between those that differ than we see at home, although 
one may have an uncomfortable consciousness of sitting 
rather too near a volcano. 

42 Fashions m Hair. Apnl 14. 

It would not be hard to stir up a new crusade in Turkey, 
were it not for the rivaby of long standing between the 
various Christian bodies. Things are much as they were in 
the quarrelsome times of the fifth and sixth centuries, many 
of the old divisions and disputes still festering under the 
Moslem rule. Strained relations between conqueror and 
conquered have perhaps lessened these divisions, although the 
feeling of nationality inherent in the idea of an Eastern 
Church has not at all been crushed; but men have learned 
prudence, and, for the most, avoid scrupulously debateable 
ground in conversation. It is but fair to the much-abused 
Turk to add that in few countries is official toleration of all 
sects and forms of religion so widely spread. Persecution 
there is, as in all half-civilised countries ; but it is unofficial, 
except in flagrant cases of idolatry or Atheism. 

The day after our arrival was Holy Thursday, marked for 
the English mind by Queen's pence and Westminster alms, 
and in Austria by the ancient ceremony in which the Emperor 
washes the feet of twelve poor men. In the morning the 
Bishop sent his " peace ** to me by the mouth of a man called 
Yakob, whom he placed at my disposal for as long as I 
wished. He was a tall, fair-complexioned Syrian, with thick 
hair, and a beard of five days' growth. Having been in New 
York for nearly six years, earning money as a ribbon-weaver, 
he spoke English fluently, but with the most unusual 
grammar, and affected a good many mannerisms, which did 
little credit to his American teachers. An incipient beard is 
a matter of course in the middle of the week. Saturday is 
shaving day, and on it the clergy have their heads and the 
lay people their beards shorn ; for no layman, unless quite an 
old man, wears hair on his chin, nor any of the clergy on 
their heads ; but beards for the latter and moustaches for the 
former are the inevitable rule. Some, too, of the laity shave 
their heads in summer, but this fashion is going out, and 
it is more usual to see the younger men with their heads 
clipped, with a long wisp left in front just under the 
^^tarbush." For this purpose a regular European clipping 
machine is used. 

Yakob, 4a 

The rule that clergy should shave the head is strictly ob- 
served, and the Syrians look with as much horror on a priest 
with the Roman tonsure, as one with a shaven chin.* No 
one ever shaves at home ; and consequently the barber^s 
trade is a profitable one. 

The charge for shaving is optional ; wealthy men generally 
give a pound at the end of the year, or perhaps pay nothings 
in consideration of the prestige that their custom brings to 
the barber ; others pay according to their means. The result 
of the system is not altogether good ; for if a man misses the 
Saturday or the day before a feast on which it is usual to be 
shaved, he will go on to the next Saturday, with an incipient 
growth, which makes a European long for something 
definite, either a beard or a clean shaven chin. 

Yakob was in his fifth day's beard, and, like so many of 
his countrymen, terribly marked by smallpox, that scourge 
of Eastern towns. But in spite of a not prepossessing 
appearance, and a terrible affectation of European dress, he 
turned out admirably. He was most devoted and faithful^ 
often under very difficult circumstances ; he had a perfectly 
imperturbable temper and a very good heart, and he was for 
an oriental, or indeed for a European, extraordinarily honest. 
This became apparent whenever he had any purchases to 
make, or bargains to conduct, which he did with all the 
zeal natural to a Syrian, and as if he were saving his own 
purse instead of mine. 

It is a charming illusion in Turkey the ease and mutual 
accommodation with which bargains are begun; but this i& 
only a cover under which to escape the obligation of naming 

* Cp. Maclean and Browne, p. 96, where the same onstoms are notioed 
among the Nestorians ; and it is wisely recommended that all missionaries in 
Turkey should wear beards. In Jebel Tur, and in the country districts, men and 
boys still share the top of their heads, learing long hair behind, as a protection 
for the neck against the sun. One of the first things the Patriarch did when he 
Tisited India was to insist that the tonsure should be abolished and their heads 
shaved by the priests of his community. Maclean and Browne quote Is. vii. 20, 
2 Sam. X. 4, 5, on which the modem custom is an Interesting comment, for no 
one in Turkey thinks of going without at least a moustache. 

44 The Syrian Church of the Virgin. 

the price, in the hope that the other party will name one 
higher or lower according to the case in hand. It is scarcely 
necessary to add that one never pays more than half the price 
asked, except for the necessaries of daily life, whose price 
generally varies only within a few piastres. Yakob had one 
point greatly in his favour — he was not a professional drago- 
man ; it was therefore not his interest to tell lies, except (a 
reservation which at times caused me intense exasperation) 
for what he really thought my or his nation's good ; then he 
lied honestly, and to a good purpose, but not with the view of 
obtaining bakhshish or a good testimonial. 

My muleteer now had to be dismissed, and this caused some 
delay. For not only did he insist on having English 
sovereigns " with a horse on them " (perhaps a point of pro- 
fessional honour), but he wanted one more than he had 
bargained for. It took three hours to settle the difference — 
in his favour, for he was Armenian ; but he had to leave his 
horse to follow with me to Mardin in a week's time, and by 
grasping lost all bakhshish. 

This business kept us rather late, and when we reached the 
Syrian church, we met the Bishop just coming out of his 
diwan on his way to church. ''Excuse me," he said; ''to-day 
Our Saviour washed his Apostles feet ; we do the same in His 
memory to-day." He had some preparations to make, and 
told us to follow him later, whenever we should be inclined. 

The church is dedicated to S. Mary, and before the nave 
was destroyed, as the Syrians assert it to have been many 
years ago, must have been a noble building. At present it 
consists of a square nave, and three sanctuaries, but the 
Syrians say that this nave was formerly the sanctuary, and 
the present sanctuary a mortuary chapel. For this statement 
there seems little foundation, nor is it borne out by comparison 
with other churches, which it closely resembles in plan. In 
spite of the excessive flatness of the dome the whole effect of 
the church would be good were it not for the horrible daubs 
painted on the walls. 

The central altar is surmounted by a large baldachino of 
painted wood, a very handsome piece of work; a richly 

The Symbol of the Cross, 45 

embroidered linen cloth covers the altar, another is laid upon 
the Book of the Gospels, a third upon the Cup and Paten. 
Great folding doors of workmanship similar to that of the 
baldachino stand always open between the beautiful marble 
pillars that flank the sanctuary arch. In the east wall of the 
side sanctuaries, about fifteen feet from the ground, are built 
two very fine Greek capitals, whose origin no one seemed ta 
know. In the east wall of the centre sanctuary is the 
" Treasury of the Cross," a hole in the wall, containing the 
great silver cross that is brought out only on Good Friday. 
Then all the people come and bow before it, and offer a special 
prayer to the Redeemer. The reverence paid to the Cross by 
all good Syrians is very noticeable. It is not of the nature 
of worship, in spite of the extravagant language with which 
it is at times addressed. For such language, it is almost a 
commonplace to say, has a very different meaning when 
employed by the self-restrained piety of the West, or the 
less temperate enthusiasm of the East.* As in the earlier 
days of Christianity, so now in a Moslem country^ the sign 
of the Cross is considered to have a special significance, 
and by the more ignorant a certain efficacy, and is used 
on every possible occasion. During the daily services the 
worshippers continually kiss the Cross wherever it occurs 
painted on the walls, or worked upon the hangings. So 
the people sign themselves more than once during the 
liturgy in the name of the Holy Trinity, and make the 
sign over every meal of which they partake. One of the 
chief insignia of the Bishop's office is the little silver- 
gilt cross with which he blesses the congregation. In a 

* Cp. Maclean and Browne, 236, who speak of this veneration being partly dne 
to the absence of pictures among the Eastern Syrians. The recent introduction 
of pictures among the Western Syrians of course weakens this statement. Cp. 
the same, p. 276, where the sign is looked on m a charm even by Moslems. 
Some of the Nestorians of Urmi count the *' sign of the cross " as one of the seven 
sacraments, p. 248. Its use argues no more superstition than the custom of 
kissing the Patriarch's hand. Dr. Grant, the noble American missionary to the 
Nestorians and a staunch Protestant, bears witness to the harmless nature of this 
practice : C* The Nestorians " p. 52, 62.) 

46 Washing the Disciples' Feet on Hohj Thursday. 

Mohammedan country it is strange to find this symbol of 
our faith used to an extent that in Christian Europe might 
seem extravagant. 

The windows of the church are few, and confined to the 
dome; whereas most of the light enters through the west 
doors. There were at one time large windows in this and in 
other churches, but, whether for protection against the cold 
or for defensive reasons, they have generally been blocked up. 
Eecently-built churches, however, frequently have larger 
windows, which are often glazed. The very earliest churches 
of all, however, sometimes have very small windows, perhaps 
a relic of the primitive days when Christian buildings were 
seldom safe from the attacks of the heathen. 

The west door leads through a portico supported by beautiful 
marble pillars into a courtyard, where there is usually a group 
of women round the fountain, or of children who have just 
run out to play from the school that occupies another side of 
the square. 

The main part of the service was prefaced by the singing 
of psalms and hymns in Syriac, interpersed with readings 
from the Bible in Arabic or Turkish for the space of nearly 
two hours. A dais containing thirteen chairs, six on each 
side and one at the east end, had been already placed 
before the altar raili ; in which at five o'clock twelve 
men, deacons and priests, took their places to represent 
the twelve Apostles. Each bore in his right hand a lighted 
taper, and wore a white surplice with a stole tied crosswise 
over his back and breast. 

When the copper ewer had been brought" \vitli soap and 
basin, the Bishop came down, his robes covered with a linen 
apron, and took his seat in the remaining chair, saying a 
short prayer before he began to wash the feet of the twelve. 
Silk napkin in hand he knelt before each disciple to wash and 
dry his feet, while a little boy deacon held the ewer and 
basin to bathe the feet in Turkish fashion. Last of all he 
came to Peter, the head priest of the church, whom, as in the 
gospel narrative, he rebuked for his remonstrance, and then 
washed his feet. 

The Sermon, 47 

This ceremony over, all returned through the two lines of 
surpliced choir boys in the chancel to the sanctuary^ and the 
singing continued, until the Bishop came forward to preach, 
and then the service ended.* The Bishop has a great reputa- 
tion as a preacher, there being very few beside the Patriarch 
who have any capacity or training in such matters. How- 
ever, since he visited England the Bishop has greatly 
encouraged preaching. Every Sunday afternoon a preacher 
comes in from a village near Diarbekr, and there is a special 
service, just like the University sermon. 

Good Friday at the heart of Islam ; it seemed a curious 
mockery ; and great swelling thoughts about the meaning of 
things, of the promise of early Christendom, the blight of 
Eastern controversies, and the mysterious rise of the Crescent, 
thrust themselves up in this land, where the streams of many 
waters meet. 

Mr. Boyajian was to preach at the Armenian Protestant 
Church at six o'clock, a.m. I went with him, although I 
understood not a word ; but I wished to contrast old and 
new, and learn something of the effect that Nonconformist 
teaching has had upon the members of the old Churches 
of the East. 

After breakfast several young Syrians, who had learned 
English and other undesirable accomplishments in New York, 
came to show me the town and its surroundings, at the 
Bishop's request. Through the gate of the police court by 
the north walls, shady with budding fruit trees, the steep 
cliffs above the Tigris, immediately outside the town, were 
reached. The winter snows had not yet melted, so the river 
flowed neither deep nor strong. The banks lay^^broad and 
sandy on either side, with a wide belt of trees and shrubs 
under the rocks, rich with all manner of fruits. Across the 
river a few villages stood under the hill crests, and beyond, 
to north and west and east, rose cap after cap of snow on the 
mountains of Kurdistan. A lovely sight it was in spring 

* The same ceremony is maintained among the Armenians (cp. Mrs Bishop's 
" Jonmeys in Persia," i. 273). 


V 48 Outside the Walls. 

J time, before the heat had turned the leaves yellow and the 

K grass dead brown, or the valleys were stripped of their 

y harvests, and the hillsides of their grapes. Bushes of lilac, 

white and pink, gorgeous pomegranates, with snowy cherry 
trees and almonds bright against the glistening green of 
walnut, ash, and poplar, all gave promise of a fruitful summer. 
I. For miles the gardens stretched up and down the Tigris 

SI shore, climbing the hills on either side, and giving place to 

^ vineyards as they rose ; while in mid-stream a single raft of a 

j hundred poles floated down on inflated skins to Mosul. 

i The foreground of this scene was occupied by a large 

Grovernment, and therefore Mohammedan, ''madrasah*' or 
college overlooking the river. It is free to all subjects of the 
Y Sultan, Moslem or Christian, but it will be readily guessfnl 

that few of the latter avail themselves of an advantage 
which subjects them to every insult from their Moslem 
neighbours, and gives no opportunity for study in the sub- 
jects that lie nearest to their hearts. Its main attraction lies 
f/ in the fact that it is becoming the only road to the official 

employments, which year by year are reserved more exclu* 
sively for Mohammedan subjects. 

The College led my Syrian friends to express their views 
on politics. Discontent with the present state of affairs, and 
the continually increasing strain of petty oppression, could 
suggest no remedy but the interference of Russia. The ex- 
j: perience gained of the Russians during the war impressed the 

natives of Armenia favourably, and it is to them, failing the 

English, that the Christians of Turkey look. France has 

y never gained much prestige in this part of the East, in spite 

of all her diplomacy ; nor does her championship of Papal 
interests find favour among the members of the old Churches. 
England has given too little proof of her willingness to aid or 
protect ; while her Philo-Turk policy in the war has made 
many look with suspicion upon her ; of Russia alone are they 
sure, in spite of grim rumours that reach their ears of her 
oppression and tyranny. It is a sad but certain truth that the 
natives, both Christian and Moslem, of interior Turkey, seem 
unable to trust England. They would like to trust her, for. 


1 • 


. s 

The Bishop's House. 49 

to her honour be it said, she is ever regarded as the champion 
of the oppressed ; but they can find no abiding surety of her 
real sympathy either with the Turks as an imperial power, 
or the Christians as co-religionists to be protected. 

The mid-day call to prayer was sounding through the town 
as we re-entered the gates, and passed a ruined bath, whose 
only patron was a stork, with a wife and thriving family, 
such as seem to claim a prescriptive right to all domes and 
towers in Turkey. For some hundred and fifty yards from 
the wall, in which the old cells may still be seen, to the 
present church of St. Mary, once stretched the great 
monastery of the Syrians. Now only the church remains, 
and a few houses, the rents of which accrue to the 

The streets and bazars were not crowded, as it was Good 
Friday, so that we soon reached the gate of the church, and 
found our way up to the Bishop's diwan. The house was 
built by the late Patriarch Yakob, and is the finest belonging 
to any of the Syrian churches. From a fountain court on the 
ground floor, a flight of outside steps leads up to a row of 
monks* rooms, a large diwan for reception, and a smaller one 
which formed the private apartment of the late Patriarch. 
This last is now the only diwan in regular use, while the Bishop 
has two small rooms upstairs for his private use. These 
he has fitted with European windows and certain comforts 
of which he learned the value in England, among them a 
raised bed. The house is built entirely of the dark basaltic 
stone in common use in Diarbekr, relieved by various designs 
in white plaster of an exceedingly fine quality. Along the 
top of the diwan, which we enter, and down the two sides are 
broad benches cushioned and carpeted for the native manner 
of sitting, and the floor between is covered with a fine Persian 
carpet, on which inferiors squat and say their say. The 
ceiling is of round beams painted red and green, on which 
are laid planks of the same colour. At the top of the room, 
beside a fine inlaid cabinet, that serves for all his writing 
purposes sits the Bishop, shoeless, in stockings of his own 
making. He has on a purple cassock, a broad black girdle, 


50 Thfi Bishop's House. 

and a long black gown, with the episcopal '^ turband '* on his 
head. His whole appearance speaks the man of neat refined 
habits of mind and body, something very different from what 
we expect to see in Central Turkey. One of the most 
charming men it is possible to meet, he unites all the polished 
courtesy of the East with the mental refinement and untiring 
good faith of the West — one of the few that contact with the 
West has not spoiled. He is a man that has no enemies, and 
to whose simple piety and learning members of all creeds 
bear witness. Hating the corruption and intrigue of politics, 
he confines himself to the service of Grod, and of his flock. It 
was a touching sight, day after day, to see him the resort of 
all that were in trouble, a judge and an adviser, protecting 
the helpless, and going from village to village, or from house 
to house, ministering to the needs, and stirring up the 
consciences, of his people. A true Bishop, and a most simple 
Grod-f earing man, from whom one could learn wonderful 
humility and goodness. 

As we entered, he gave the usual hearty welcome, and 
introduced me as the Moses and Joshua of his people to those 
who were present. There was a brief contest of honour, and 
shifting of positions in the diwan, until our places were 
satisfactorily settled, and we remained so until ^'a more 
honourable came,^^ and a fresh contest and adjustment took 
place. The same ceremony was performed as coffee was 
served, and it got cold during the various expressions of 
unworthiness, but after a few minutes all settled down into 
the post-salam tranquility of cigarettes. 

Conversation ran on neutral subjects, a company mixed in 
creed and nationality always acting as a drag upon free talk, 
so the formal visit being soon brought to an end, I was glad 
to get a few quiet hours, such as I had not enjoyed since 
arriving in Diarbekr. 

Saturday morning was devoted to a stroll through the 
bazars, and suk or markets. They are unusually good in 
Diarbekr, especially for silks and fine cloth. For the 
purchase of Turkish antiquities, carpets, embroideries, or inlaid 
wood, and metal work it is a good place, being out of the 


Diarbekr Street Life, 51 

beaten track. People do not live at home much during the 
day, so it is in the bazars that one sees the native life, in 
the barber's shop as in Roman days, or in the coffee 
houses. These last, called "Qdhwahs," often belie their 
name, and are the headquarters of arrak-drinking, gossip, 
and lounging, and often worse things, being not unlike 
certain Parisian houses of the same name. Thus it is easy 
enough, without ever entering the house of a native, to 
see much of Eastern life, and hear the daily talk, if only 
one dons a tarbush to avoid undue attention. Instead 
of the semi-European refinement of Aleppo, Diarbekr 
gives a far truer ring of the East. We miss the cosmo- 
politan confusion of Smyrna and the sea ports, with 
all its hateful accompaniments, and find, instead of the 
insinuating Greek, the heavy American, the polite Syrian, 
the reserved and stately Turk. The native dress predominates 
over the Levantine fashion of covering, and hats are unknown. 
Europeans too are a rarity, coming at times on business, 
commercial, archaeological, or diplomatic, and, casting 
shadows months long before them, obtain no slight considera- 
tion in these parts. Arabs seldom penetrate further north 
than this ; nor are many to be seen even here ; one catches 
sight now and then of a little shock-headed scamp in a scant 
and very dirty shirt, darting among the flowing robes of 
"muUas'^ and ''muftis" on his way to some town friend of 
his tribe ; or there is a dark son of Ishmael, swinging stealthily 
along, switch in hand, or looking out from under his eyebrows 
as he sits in the stall of a friend. He is cautious, and 
unobtrusive here among the hated Turks; but meet him on 
the plain, his eye gains fire there as he sits his darling mare, 
and he looks one of Nature's princes. 

It was '' Ramadhan,'' the great Turkish fast, during which 
no food or drink or smoke may touch a Moslem's lips from 
sunrise to sunset. Fortunately, it fell early this year ; but it 
may be imagined what that fast means when it falls about May 
time and the days are long and hot. 

It was amusing to sit and watch the fasting Turk from the 
stall of a little old watchmaker, Yakob's uncle, which stands 

B 2 

52 Ramadhan. 

facing a comer and commands a good view down three streets. 
In the morning, few Moslems are to be seen, for they eat and 
do their business at night during this month, and sleep all 
the morning. There are plenty of Christians bustling about 
and wrangling ; a few stray Kurds, too poor to keep fasts, 
bent double under huge weights of mountain wood for bum- 
ing ; an Arab or two, with a string of solemn, stupid camels, 
fastened one to the other by cord and chain, causing a 
stoppage of all traffic in the crowded street. The scene of 
crowd and confusion, mud and noise, reminds one of the 
dangers of Roman streets in the days of the Empire, so 
vividly portrayed by Juvenal. 

Towards evening Moslems resort much to the little glass 
window of the watchmaker, and become very inquisitive 
about the time. Up goes the little pane as the ^' mufti,^' or 
'^ qadhi,*' sweeps by in green silk turband and long white 
robe, and haughtily asks the time to a second. He is followed 
by an official, a sneaking, bullying kind of man, whom our 
ivatchmaker answers with a tone of quiet contempt. Battling 
his amber beads, he passes on, followed by a small son, the 
miniature of his father's form and manner. Among the rest 
€omes the ^^ dallal,'' a most useful person in the East, general 
agent between all those who wish to buy or sell private 
property. He generally has a small stock of old china, 
carpets, gems, coins, or embroideries, which he will sell or 
barter for other goods for which the purchaser has no need. 
To-day he brought a lovely wooden box inlaid with ivory. 
A Turkish Beg was bidding for it ; but as he was at present 
drunk and incapable at home, and the owner was not disposed 
to wait, I secured the treasure. There are two ways of 
buying in Turkey ; either the owner gives a reserve price and 
intending purchasers bid as at an auction, or a regular bargain, 
in which the buyer beats down the seller, is gone through. 
Needless to say, the former is more satisfactory ; it is also 
the method usually followed by the dallal. 

There are several fine mosques and minarets in Diarbekr, 
which give the town a most picturesque appearance when 
seen from below the walls. The chief of them is contained in 

The " Great " Mosque of Diarhekr. 53 

the gi'eat court of an ancient Christian church.* Three sid s 
remain and enclose a space 230ft. by 115ft.; the southern 
side has been destroyed. There are two arches in the centre 
of the east and west wall; but they give no clue to the 
original use of the building. Two rows of Corinthian pillars, 
one above the other, run along the east and west sides, with 
capitals and friezes of the richest workmanship imaginable. 
The carving is all of the richest Roman-Byzantine work, while 
below the friezes carved with fruit and flowers run fine Cufic 
inscriptions of later date. The arches of the north side are 
lower and are sing^ilarly like those of the Ducal Palace at 
Venice, both in design and in the wealth of their capitals. 
The effect of the whole is astonishing, especially when we 
remember that it is in the centre of Turkey, with its profusion 
of marble pillars, all colours, and a grandeur of proportion 
worthy of the Greeks. There are a few more specimens of 
such work scattered about, but nothing nearer than Palmyra 
and Baalbek so fine as this. 

The mosque, of course, was not for us to enter ; for it was 
Ramadhan, and Turks, never friendly to Christians or 
foreigners, become even more jealous than usual when they see 
a heretic so near one of their treasures. Their savage looks 
warned us not to linger, or the children, perhaps, who played 
round the beautiful Saracenic fountain in the centre, half 
drowning each other, might begin to pick up stones. It was 
the wrong time of year, and midday prayer was soon to begin, 
so without time to enter the mosque or examine even the 
court in detail, we walked away. It is not as it is in the sea 
towns of Turkey, where a few piastres will procure admission 
into the holiest shrines ; in the interior it is almost impossible 
for a Christian to enter a mosque, and during all the time I 
spent east of Aleppo, I was only once admitted into one. 

* " The great Chnroh of Amida," probably thia bnilding, was begnn in 
629 A.D. bj order of Heraclius, and finished 770 a.d. In 848 it was bnrued and 
restored (op. Badger, i. 38). The similaritj to Baalbek argaes that this is the 
remains of a Boman temple. There are no traces of a sanctuary, nor of a 
portico. It is not nnlikelj that it was a Boman temple adapted for use as a 
oharch (cp. the acconnt of Nisibis). 

54 Baxter Day. 

Easter Day, the '^ great feast*' of the Easterns, as Christmas 
18 the little feast, found everyone in church at five o'clock in 
the morning. No Syrian worth the name would dream of 
missing this Easter celebration, so it may be imagined that 
the church was crowded. When service was over, all the men 
came to the Bishop's diwan. Coffee, cigarettes, and " rahat- 
el-lakum'' followed each other in rapid succession, ac- 
companied by frequent salutations and healths, and by a 
*^ general post " as soon as any fresh-comer arrived. Being 
the Bishop's own guest there was a great stir when I arrived, 
in order that I might have a seat at the top next to him ; 
there was a general movement all round the room, until every- 
one had gone down one place. The Bishop looked dreadfully 
tired ; his strength was quite worn out b} the fatigue of the 
week's services, nor had he slept the previous night. However, 
it was useless to say anything of the unnecessary strain that 
the rules of his church put upon him and all the clergy during 

The evening was spent at Yakob's house, to whose tender 
care I had been confided by the Bishop. As we entered we 
heard his small nephew of twelve years old reading aloud 
with great dignity from a large Turkish Bible the Gospel of 
the day ; this was followed by a few prayers from one of his 
uncles, and some of the indispensable but excruciating hymns 
of Mar Ef rem and Mar Yakob. The boy was a great favourite 
with the family, grandmother, uncles, and all, and was as 
sharp as most of these Syrian boys are. He was, moreover, 
chief coffee server, and lighter of cigarettes to the diwan, an 
oflSce which he performed with a manner quite inimitable, 
laying his hand upon his girdle, and with the other touching 
his heart and forehead, with a final grand sweep of his whole 
person as he received ba<;k the cup and he retired from each. 
Servants do not as a rule perform this oflSce, except in very 
rich houses, a custom which is much to be commended. After 
a little general conversation on the English Church, and the 
Americans, I retired, to find my way back to my room in the 
Bishop's house. 

Easter Monday is the great day among the Christians for 


Easter Monday — A Round of Visits. 55 

paying complimentary visits. At ten o^clock the Bishop 
sallied forth, robed in his best, a great silver-mounted ebony 
staff in his hand, and attended by a deacon with a list of 
persons to be called on, and one of the chief Syrians to 
support him. The deacon knocked at the doors, and a small 
boy, the Bishop's servant, dressed in his smartest clothes, 
carried the staff while his master sat in the rooms. 

They were all visits of state to the chief men of other 
communities ; we had to swallow innumerable cups of coffee, 
varying very much in flavour, and smoke a cigarette or eat 
sweetmeats at each house. It was a most tedious affair both 
for the Bishop and myself, and I am sure it was unwholesome. 
The rooms were monotonous in their uniformity, except when 
we came to the house of a Greek physician, or the ChaldaBan 
Bishop ; the only variety being afforded by the carpets and 
china, or the particular royal personages, Greek, Russian, 
English, or Italian, cased in hideous green frames, that the 
householder affected. It was a noticeable fact that not one 
contained any picture of the Sultan. Some of the houses, 
especially those belonging to middle class people, contained 
most gorgeous carpets ; but the majority prefer the new 
fashions in weaving and colour, imported from Germany or 
France. Among the houses that we visited was that of the 
Armenian to whom I had brought a letter of introduction. 
The court was full of servants and boys, through whom we 
had to pass in order to reach the stone steps, with a fine iron- 
wrought balustrade, leading to the diwan. Below was stand- 
ing a handsome Arab horse, covered with silver-mounted 
trappings, on which the owner was about to pay a round of 
visits, such as we were engaged in. Sleek servants lounged 
about, and ladies came in and out of the room with quite 
European shamelessness. The diwan was a strange mixture 
of East and West, Austrian wicker-chairs and aimless little 
round tables of alarming instability took the place of the 
usual comfortable cushions. The coverings blazed with livid 
green, and carpets spotted with great pink roses, and fat 
gar I and -encircled Cupids with background of yellow ribbons, 
were the order, all in the brightest of aniline dyes, such as 

56 Easter Monday — A Round of Visits. 

adorned English drawing-rooms of twenty years ago. The 
coffee, as might be expected, was quite the worst we drank 
that day. 

A second house of similar tendency contained a most 
pitiable old Broadwood piano, which I, being English, was 
bound to play. It had left its heart behind it, and uttered 
fearful sounds, as if to bemoan its luckless exile. 

Our poor little Mercury grew sleepier in each new house ; 
he was tired of lakum, and his smart clothes ; so he clung to 
the precious staff, and dozed, oblivious of everything, until 
the offer of a cup of coffee aroused him into confused disgust ; 
and he ran to the Bishop without a thought of etiquette, and 
bursting into tears begged leave to run home. The omen 
was accepted, for we were glad to accompany him back to 
some dinner and rest, after the tedium of three hours' state 

-ool^fxy- — 

From THarbfikr to Mardin, 57 


Mardin — The Patriarch's Diwan. 

Easter was over, and tho various Christians were settling 
down to business again^ when we said good-bye to the Bishop, 
and started for Mardin. Mutran Abdullah was lavish with 
Oriental expressions of regret and regard, couched in terms 
very confusing to modesty ; but he was especially troubled to 
think I should see the depression of his church, which he had 
so little power to remedy. 

About five o'clock we started from the Gate of the Romans 
to the place where we were to find the caravan, outside the 
walls, and say good-bye to the Syrians collected there out of 
ofiicial view. A monk stood in the middle of a number of 
men, some of them Yakob's relations; and a group of women 
covered entirely with white sheets, all except their eyes and 
noses, stood a little aside, while a small boy of five with an 
inexpressibly wicked expression was mounted on my horse. 
The monk repeated the Lord's prayer, and then we said 
good-bye, amid violent weeping from the women, and pro- 
fuse kissing between the men who were brothers. Yakob's 
mother and sister could not kiss him in public, so they stood 
aside and wept. 

In the spring, when grass is abundant, it is usual for 
caravans to start late in the afternoon for a village a few 
miles off, by that means securing a start at three o'clock the 
next morning, and a long afternoon during which the animals 
may graze. As the mornings are bitterly cold, the misery 
of alternate freezing and roasting may be easily imagined. 

60 The Church of the Arbain. 

American Congregational mission, close by the ruined western 
gate of the city. A ride of a few minutes through break ueck 
streets brought us to the church of the '^ Arbain/* or Forty 
Saints, and the house of the Patriarch. 

Through a great gateway with doors plated thick with iron 
and covered with nails, appeared a large graveyard, with an 
ancient mulberry tree in the middle just bursting into leaf. 
Across the yard was the church, and on the south and west 
sides two fine schoolrooms. The north side was occupied by 
the Patriarch's house, to which a flig^ht of steps leads. One 
of the first questions he asked was whether I had noticed 
the cross on the arches above the steps ; he laughed when 
he said that he had put them there that all Moslems who 
came to see him might have to pass beneath the symbol 
of the Nazarenes.* A broad balcouy ran in front of his 
Holiness's diwan and the guest room, which was to be my 
home for some weeks. 

There was, of course, some stir among the people and 
boys collected among the gravestones below just before 
the evening service, as an old priest, in a long fur cloak 
and red fez bound with a black turband, came out to 
conduct me into the diwan, which in the simplicity of 
Eastern life satisfies all the requirements of the Patriarch 
awake or asleep. 

It was a well-furnished room with a long diwan down each 
side, and at the top covered with fine Persian carpets. A few 
pictures. Her Majesty at the age of twenty, the late Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, the Russian Royal Family, and some 
photographs adorned the walls. One of the many recesses 
in the wall contained about fifty books neatly arranged, and 
bound in old red leather, church histories, gospels, and 
liturgies, others were filled with silver cups, ink stands, and a 
vase of anemones. Cigarettes and other necessaries were, of 
course, kept at the lower end. These little arched recesses, 
together with the larger canopy of Saracenic design at the 

* Nasrani — a Nazarene —is the oommon term applied bj Moslems to Christians, 
conyejing a reproach. 

The Patriarch, 61 

head of the room, are common to many houses in Mardin, and 
give them an extremely picturesque appearance. The absence 
of writing materials was remarkable; but it is considered 
derogatory for great men in Turkey to write with their own 
hands, all letters, unless of supreme importance, being com- 
posed by the secretary in another room, and then brought in 
to the Patriarch, read out to him, and sealed with the large 
seal of the Patriarchate, in the red ink which it is the 
prerogative of royal persons only to use. A few letters lay 
scattered about on the cushions at the bead of the room, others 
were bundled together with documents of all kinds in a large 
cloth bag ; the Syrians have little idea of the importance of 
such things, and do not often trouble to lock them up. The 
room was about thirty feet long, and roofed by two vaults 
according to the usual Mardin plan. An arch divided the 
vaults, richly carved, like every other space in the room that 
gave an opportunity, the wood- work of cupboards and the 
barrier at the bottom of the room being painted in the usual 
style, red and green. 

It was a true Eastern picture, especially as one's eye fell on the 
three mattresses covered with rugs and Damascene silk pillows 
on which the aged Prince reclined like a lion, watching all 
that passed. He smoked a '^shibuk^' of beautiful Mosul 
workmanship, some six feet long, as he listened to the news 
of his priests, or some tale of a mountain Syrian seeking 
redress for robbery or murder. A more imposing sight it 
would be hard to imagine than this head of a persecuted 
Church, the descendant of Ignatius, "Moran Mar Ignatius 
Peter III., exalted Patriarch of the Apostolic See of 
Antioch, and of all the Jacobite Churches of Syria and in the 

The Queen, whom he had the honour of visiting twice when 
he was in England, saw in him the embodiment of her idea of 
Abraham ; such he looked with his ninety-four years, " his 
eye not dim nor his natural force abated." He sat there 
hearing every word that passed, seeing to read as clearly as 
men fifty years younger. Only his brow betrayed many a 
trouble gone through ; something too of the impatience as 

well as of the dignity and power of the lion showed there. 
But a peculiarly soft smile oTercame the slight sign of pain as 
he rose to his full height of six foot and more, and, atroking 

Thb Pateiarcb. 

his long silvery beard, spoke in courtly Arabic his words of 
welcome, leaning on his monk's shoulder as he paid the 
delicate compliment of shaking hands. 

His HolineBS knows how great a line he represents and is 
proud of his title. Nor is it an empty one ; for besides two 
hundred thousand subjects of the Porte that acknowledge him 
their head, he counts under his rule three hundred thousand 
or more of the Queen's subjects on the Malabar coast, and in 
Ceylon, It is little enough that the majority know of him, or 
he of them, for times are evil and communication slow; bnt 
there is enough of unity left to justify the hope that one 
day we may again see a great and Apostolic Church acknow- 

The Patriarch, 63 

lodging Antioch as its head^ as one of the chief powers of the 
Catholic communion in Christ.* 

The Patriarch had been suffering acutely from influenza, 
and was too tired to receive us for long. I took a seat near 
to him, and Yakob next to me ; for, having visited Jerusalem 
and been tatooed with the sign of the cross at the Syrian 
church, he was a Haji, and treated with a Haji^s honour. A 
large brazier stood in the middle of the room, into which a 
deacon threw some broken berries brought from Antioch, and 
smelling much like incense. Candied fruit was handed 
round, followed by sherbet, cigarettes, and coffee ; after 
which we retired to my room to be received by the chief 
Syrians of Mardin. It is in Turkey a mark of politeness to 
call on a newcomer as soon as possible, and stay as long as 
you can ; also to hover about your friend when he departs, 
impeding the packing and generally getting in the way. 
When practicable it is usual to ride out several hours to meet 
or escort an arriving or departing friend, sometimes sleeping 
a night away from home. 

A solemn crowd of blue-robed dignitaries of the Syrian 
Church sat round my room, and rose to salam, and welcdbae 
the Patriarch^s guest. They remained a long time, said a 
great many polite and inquisitive things that I did not 
understand, and after a tedious hour took their leave. I 
then proceeded to make myself as comfortable as possible 
with my rugs, travelling bed, and other contrivances, until 
supper arrived. This meal, like all others, was served in my 
own room, and not with the Patriarch, who always eats 
alone ; my meals being shared by Yakob and occasionally a 
guest. The room was large and airy, and not overburdened 
with furniture. Only in a recess at the end decorated with 
tawdry blue paper and Turkish flags, which the Patriarch 
alone among the Eastern ecclesiastics of the empire is allowed 
to fly, stood the Tughra, a large design of gold on a red 
ground displaying the Sultan's signature and various 

* I would gnard these words from misconstraction by referring the reader to 
the acconnt of the Syrian Chnrch in the second part. 

64 The Patriarchal Household. 

benedictions on the heads of his loyal Syrian subjects, framed 
in a massive gilded frame, and altogether presenting an 
extremely magnificent appearance. It was considered 
extremely fortunate to sleep under it; but to confess the 
truth I became heartily tired of the gaudy thing before a week 
was over. There was a plentiful supply of carpets, which I 
carefully sprinkled with a certain powder of magic charm, and 
by adding to the existing furniture a few of my own posses- 
sions, my room presented quite a homelike appearance by the 
time that supper arrived. 

A visit of an hour or more to the Patriarch became part of 
every day's proceedings, and passed in general pleasantly 
enough, as we talked of England, and the wonderful things 
he had seen there, or discussed the current topics. From 
morning till night men came and went, some with business 
political or ecclesiastical to transact, others on visits of com- 
pliment. Bishops of other communities, or Moslem official $i of 
the town. Then there was the set of men for whom the diwan 
is the recognised place of meeting, the priests of the Church, 
the deacons, and the chief men of the Syrian community. 
Morning service over, several of them always came and sat 
with the Patriarch for a time, gave him the news, discussed the 
affairs of the nation, or if it was mail day, heard the contents 
of his Holiness's correspondence ; for there was little privacy 
there, and everyone, except he were a Moslem or a member 
of a rival community, sat to hear the letters read aloud. 

Of the more regular frequenters of the diwan the two priests 
came first, with one of whom, a *^ khuri,^^* I came a good 
deal in contact. 

* Cp. Maclean and Browne, p. 182. Probably short for chorepiscopns, an 
office not existing among the Nestorians since the 13th century. In Syria the 
word seems to denote merely a parish priest, and is need by the Latins as 
equivalent to the French ctirt^. As seems to have been the case in the early 
Church, they are not consecrated, as to a higher order, but hold the title as 
parish priests with certain work as overseers superadded. 

Bingham (i. 183), however, considers them to have been Bishops. Dr. Bright 
(History of Ch. p. 6) speaks of them ** as an inferior class of consecrated bishops.'* 
They seem from the case of Armentarius, considered at the Council of liiez in 
Nov., 439, to have been at any rate subordinate to diocesan bishops. 

The Patriarchal Household, 65 

He was the eldest Syrian priest in Mardin^ and holding 
much the same position as a rural dean, carried a tall ebony 
stick of office. Being something of an antiquarian^ he soon 
found out I took an interest in his hobby, and brought in upon 
me a flood of dealers oflTering everything from French coffee 
cups to gold Roman coins at equally exorbitant prices. To 
this day I cannot tell whether the old man wittingly 
defrauded me in selling three palpable forgeries. He left 
them with me, saying I could take them to England, and sell 
them for him. A week after I returned them, as worthless ; 
but unfortunately he had paid the man who had brought them 
and the latter had disappeared. I trusted the words of the 
holy man, and bought some wisdom rather dear. 

This is a bad introduction to our friend, who was an 
excellent man, excepting the one whim, which is by fate 
assigned to all the dwellers in Mesopotamia. I never met a 
man there without one distinctive mark of this kind. The 
khuri soon took me under his charge, made me sit next to 
him in the diwan, drew me out in conversation, took me to 
call on the lions of Mardin, and in general managed me. It 
was a bondage that had to be broken, but with discretion. I 
got a little tired of the old man, and his continual wink, 
which seemed to say, '' You and I know the world, let us 
make it pay.'* One good characteristic he had, he was really 
patriotic, and desirous for the improvement of his people. 
And I believe he would have sacrificed much for that. 

The second priest presented in every way a contrast to the 
last, a quiet pious man, spending all the time not occupied in 
the service of the church and parish or in attendance at the 
Patriarch's diwan, in the pursuit of the divine wisdom that is 
embalmed in the great folios of the Patriarchal library. Day 
after day he was to be seen poring over the pages of Old 
Syriac, in. which he saw his beloved Church admonished by 
S. Efrem or S. James, and read their endless commentaries on 
God's word. A most simple and withal a businesslike mind, 
to whom the Patriarch had committed the management of 
most of his accounts and affairs, trusting him more than any 
of his brother ecclesiastics. 



66 The Patriarchal Household. 

Next to Qas Gibrail in the Patriarch^s favour stood 
*'Rahab'^ (monk) Elias^ who with Rahab Efrem acted as 
steward of the small household. To Rahab Efrem, a plain 
monk of Edessa to whom I owe thanks for continual kindness 
and attention, was committed the charge of the cash box in 
the absence of His Holiness. All money in the interior of 
Turkey, where banks are things known only by report, and 
considered mere concerns to defraud people of their honest 
gains, is stored in strong boxes, which stand in the inner 
rooms of houses ; it is, of course, all in hard cash ; nor do its 
owners look upon these stores as capital to be distinguished 
from current income ; all is thrown in together, to be used 
as the household requires. The Patriarch had his boxes, like 
other people, in his diwan, where he kept a jealous guard over 
them ; but when he was away, Rahab Efrem slept in the 
diwan and was not allowed to let the keys go out of his hand. 
Several years ago, a secretary of the Patriarch having dis- 
appeared with a large sum of money. His Holiness brought 
an action. When, however, the judge asked how much had 
been lost His Holiness could only place one hand above the 
other and say *' so much,^' about three inches depth of his 
strong box. This vague computation was determined to 
represent about £300, which in time was obtained from the 
thief. An exact mind is not characteristic of the East. 

Imagine a short stout mail with a tendency to blink one 
eye, adorned with monstrous silver-bound spectacles, a most 
confidential manner and an inability to see a joke, combined 
with a duck-like walk and a masterful tongue of which every- 
one from the Patriarch to the small boys in the school below 
stood a little in awe (for they knew him to be an honest 
man), and Rahab Efrem stands in his shoes before you. His 
companion was of an altogether different style, handsome^ 
suave, and inclined to follow the first speaker's lead. He was 
a son of our old friend the Khuri, but a hundred times 
the better man. Absolutely devoted to the Patriarchy it 
was touching to see how he watched every motion of the 
old autocrat, smoothed his pillows, filled his shibuk, served 
eveiy morsel that was set before. him, standing with arms 

The Patriarchal Sotisehold. 67 

crossed upon his breast ready to bring the water and towel 
as soon as the simple meal was done. Sometimes he would 
not sleep all night, when His Holiness was unwell, and apt to 
be more exacting than usual, and he nearly always looked 
tired; yet his devotion never slackened, although the only 
return he obtained was the honour of carrying the Patriarchal 
staff at the head of the little procession when His Holiness 
rode abroad. 

The Patriarch is allowed by the Government two Qawwases, 
or armed servants dressed in an official uniform, but prefers 
the services of these two monks, who add, if not so much 
pomp, at least more quiet dignity to his retinue. 

A " Shammas,'' or deacon, performed the lower duties of 
the household, and, with the cook and porter, completed the 
establishment. None received any pay except the cook, the 
monks, of course, living on the presents they receive from 
the Patriarch aud the people, the porter on the bakhshish of 
visitors, and the Shammas on his prospects. 

Day after day, at meal times, Bahab Ef rem would come and 
open wide my folding doors, followed into the room by Rahab 
Elias, carrying a large metal tray covered with various 
dishes, while the Deacon walked behind with tea or wine, 
according to the time of day. All stood as Yakob and I ate, 
and the meal was enlivened by a rapid flow of conversation, 
broken only by a rush of all three to fill my glass with fresh 
water. The meal finished, water to wash the hands was 
brought, with coffee and cigarettes, unless the latter were 
served in the Patriarch's diwan. 

One morning, as Yakob lifted the heavy leathern curtain 
that hung before the door of the diwan, as in an Italian 
church, the Patriarch was opening a box that had arrived 
from his people in India, containing some money and a gold 
cross of beautiful workmanship, set with gems. 

The contents of the day's letters led naturally to a 
discussion of the size of the Syrian community, but it soon 
became evident that His Holiness's information was neither 
very ample nor accurate. He had no idea how many subjects 
he ruled in Turkey, putting their numbers, in fact, at three 

F 2 

68 The Patriarchal Household. 

times the reality, and being quite ignorant how many priests 
or monks existed in the towns and villages. The rough 
census that I was able finally to draw up was obtained from 
a large number of different people, and varying accounts 
balanced one against another. The main reason that prevents 
not only the Patriarch from keeping any roll of his people, 
but also the natives of any particular village from telling a 
stranger their true number, is to be found in the policy 
universally pursued of giving false returns to the Govern- 
ment in order to escape full taxation. But of that more 
hereafter. The continual migration from one church to 
another, for political or religious reasons, presents another 
diflBculty in assigning their right numbers to native churches, 
Romans or Protestants. However, by continual asking of 
questions in the Socratic vein, some approach to accuracy is 

Among other interesting letters that arrived about this 
time was a letter from Lord Salisbury acknowledging the 
Patriarch's condolences on the death of the Duke of Clarence, 
and a note of invitation from the Old Catholic congress 
which was to meet in September at Lucerne. This caused 
a considerable flutter in the diwan, and the Patriarch was all 
for going in person ; but it seemed impossible at his age, and 
considering that he had only just recovered from a sharp 
attack of influenza, to undertake so long a journey. It was 
settled therefore that Mar Gregorius and a Rahab should go 
as his delegates, collecting the necessary funds from the 
people. The people, however, failed to show adequate 
enthusiasm, and the plan fell through ; so that His Holiness 
contented himself with sending a letter of sympathy with the 
object of the congress and a copy of the creed in use in the 
Syrian Church. 

As we sat, people came in and out. Those of some degpree 
put off their shoes at the bottom of the diwan, and having 
made their salam with their hand upon the forehead and 
breast and kissed the Patriarch's hand, sat down in a place 
according with their rank. It was strange how each seemed 
to have a recognised place, although at times a less frequent 

The Patriarchal Household, 69 

visitor would enter, and would cause quite a commotion 
among those already seated, until a short contest of politeness 
found him his level. Often the Bishop of Deir-el-Za'aferan 
would come in, but having been brought up from a boy at the 
Patriarch's feet, would never take a seat until specially bidden. 
Moslems would enter with the usual official salam^ occupying 
as by a prescriptive right the highest seats, while the best 
cigarettes and preserved fruits would be served, sometimes 
followed by tea, as for a most honoured guest. The tea was 
of the weakest, and exceeding sweet, milk moreover was out 
of the question. I once watched the operation of making it. 
Each time tea was needed, a few fresh leaves were sprinkled 
over the old ones already in the pot, and cold water added as 
required; this was put on the charcoal fire and left to boil; 
sugar being added to suit the Moslem taste. The leaves were 
cleaned out about once a week. 

Monks, deacons, and those of lower degree would come to 
the end of the diwan, and having made a very low obeisance 
there, or come to kiss the Patriarch's hand, return, and stand 
at the foot of the room, or sit bolt upright, their hands upon 
their knees and their legs tucked as far under the seat as 
possible, on the very edge of the diwan. Among these Yusef 
Efendi, the Patriarch's secretaiy, generally found his place, 
unless he stood reading, or sat writing at His Holiness's feet. 
He was a straightforward, unassuming man, most useful when 
anything had to be done with the officials, having once held 
some minor post in the Government, and of a good nature 
which it seemed impossible to overtax. He had many a hard 
half hour with the rather varying moods of his master, but 
always laughed them off as the whim^ of an old man, whom 
sorrow and misfortune had made a little impatient. This man 
proved of great use t-o me more than once in smoothing 
difficulties and warning me of possible storms. 

Conversation seldom flagged ; the Patriarch was full of 
anecdotes gathered during his travels, with which to entertain 
his guests; or there were matters of political or national 
interest ; or again he would be sternly rebuking some 
misdemeanour among his people. 

70 The Patriarchal Hotisehold. 

Visits of ceremony from Turkish officials occurred from 
time to time, varying the monotony of provincial conversation 
with discussion of Constantinople politics. The Patriarch has 
not many friends among these Efendis, for he disapproves 
thoroughly of the dissolute lives of most of them, and confines 
himself to an official banquet at the monastery once or twice 
a year as a means of keeping up goodwill. The advent of a 
new official to fill any of the important posts — a pretty 
frequent occurrence — is generally the occasion of a small feast 
or entertainment at the monastery, or in the private house of 
a Syrian ; but they are very formal affairs, and do little more 
than keep up appearances. 

Last, but not least, of the Patriarch's household, was a 
beautiful Arab mare, bay coloured, that no one except His 
Holiness and Rahab Elias, who exercised her, was ever 
allowed to ride. Graceful as every well-bred Arab, with legs 
like a doe and temper gentle (discreet, the Arabs say) as the 
summer breeze. How she was petted and fondled, and how 
she seemed to care for her aged rider as he rode along the 
slippery streets ! But towards autumn she fell ill from a 
severe kick, which led to inflammation, and, not receiving any 
medicine, seemed likely to die. I had been away, and, comiog 
back, asked why she was left so. " It comes from God,'* said 
the Patriarch, " and if she dies, she dies.'' * It was obvious 
to reply that all things come from God, but that God helps 
him who helps himself; but the old man had other horses, 
and if God willed that his beauty should die, who was he to 
complain ? I suggested medicine, but the Patriarch dis- 
approved of that, as usual, so I took matters into my own 
hands, gave the case over to the kind American doctor, and 
the mare was soon on her legs again. It is strange how this 
fatalism, or perhaps it might be called resignation, reigns like 
a spell over the East. When the Patriarch himself lay nearly 
dying for want of food and a little medicine, and scarcely 

* A yery common manner of speech in the East (cp. Israel's words, Gen. 
xliii, 14: '* If I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved "). The style is 
therefore older than the fatalistic inflnenoe of Islam." 

The Patriarchal Household. 7 1 

able to lift his eyes from exhanstion^ his Bishop and 
attendants stood rounds and merely said it was God's will if 
he died^ until one cup of tea and some toast restored the old 
man. It makes the blood of a European boil to see such 
things ; the stupid helplessness^ the waste of noblest powers 
and thoughts that God has given man^ and all because the 
East lies under a spell that should have died two thousand 
years ago^ but for the dead hand of Islam. 

As I left the diwan towards evening, the sound of chanting 
from the church mingled strangely with other voices. Away 
from the roof of some Moslem house came the sound of the 
pipes and drums accompanying the mournful^ stately wedding 
dance^ and of cymbals banging at intervals. Five hours they 
had danced (for Ramadhan, the Moslem months of fastings 
was over), and would dance three hours more. Then came 
the gun from the Serai as the sun went down, and the cry 
of the "Mueddhin'' was caught up from minaret to minaret, 
calling the faithful to prayer : '' Great is Allah and Moham- 
med, the prophet of Allah ! There is no God but Allah 1 
Come to prayer." 

The dancing goes on, but the patriarchal mulberry tree is 
deserted, save by a monk or two, and the groom of His 
Holiness's stable, for whom no one cares but two starving 
cats that keep up a gay accompaniment to the Turkish pipes, 
and anxious for their supper mew a mournful grace, rubbing 
their skinny sides against his legs ; poor wretches, they get 
little more from him than the half-starved dogs pick up in 
the dirty streets behind the church. Moslems and Christians 
are not often cruel to animals, but they neglect them shame- 
fully ; yet it is a sin to kill a dog, however ill or wounded, 
so that one sees at times sad sights about the market. 

There was a very different scene in the morning, groups of 
children chattering, or playing leap-frog round the court, and 
solemn gossips spinning or carding wool upon the tombstones ; 
all gaily dressed, while the smaller ones, stout with well- 
girdled petticoats, stalked about in an important manner, and 
watched their elders. Now all have gone, and as the sun- 
light fades away one can just make out the form of an aged 

72 The Patriarchal Hotisehold. 

man^ too helpless even to lift his hand to eat^ seated between 
two tombs^ as if he would be near his last resting place, while 
his wife places food between his toothless gams, then smoothes 
his dress, and washes his face, laying him gently down with 
a handkerchief over his head to sleep among the graves. He 
has been many years like this, growing weaker year by year, 
and his wife^s devotion never fails. Sometimes at night one 
hears a doleful voice moaning " God, my God, I am dying, 
take me home. Oh, let me come/^ He seldom speaks, bnt 
loves to sit all day there among those he knew and loved 
twenty years ago, until he shall sleep with them. At last 
even him we can see no more, only the black mulberry tree 
outlined against the sky ; then stars blaze out one by one, and 
the fires light up all along the horizon where the Arabs bum 
the Kali. Only the wedding drums are heard, and the 
Moslems go on dancing. 



The Plain from Mardin. 73 


Mabdin and its Syrian Inhabitants. — I. 

Mardin is a large town^ whose chief characteristic for an 
unprejudiced stranger is the prominence of smells. As all 
drainage is conducted^ with an artless simplicity quite Oriental^ 
from the courts of the houses straight into the streets^ it may 
be imagined that the raised pavements or stepping stones 
that line them are not to be despised. 

Away from the streets there was no lack of good air in 
such an eyrie as Mardin ; and upon the Patriarch^s balcony 
there was always a fresh breeze blowing day and night from 
far away across the plain. Except where the hills of Sin jar 
stretch like a great arm across the level west of Mosul^ and 
the low western ranges shut out the Euphrates^ the plain lies 
all along the south from the hills on which Mardin stands as 
far as the eye can reach^ broken only by the old Assyrian 
mounds dotted like mole hills over a field. Under many of 
them nestle villages, inhabited some by Arabs, others by 
Syrians. May and June deck the plain with a carpet of 
flowers, mallows, anemones, cornflowers, and balsams, which, 
splashed in rich spaces among the green or yellow wheat, 
light up a view long to be remembered. The magnificence of 
the scene may be imagined, when in May the thunderstorms 
chase one another across the sky, venting their last fury 
before the summer, and, casting black shadows, fill up great 
lakes that enhance the brilliance of the plain. 

The town stands about four thousand feet above the level 
of the sea, and presents a striking appearance when seen 

74 Everyday at Mardin, 

from outside the walls ; for the houses are of good limestone, 
and well built ; while the designs of some, with their arched 
and richly carved porticos and doorways are quite beautiful. 

This is especially noticeable as one sees the town from the 
gardens to the west, house rising behind house np the steep 
hillside, so that every window that does not look on a court- 
yard has the same glorious view across the plain. Three 
minarets break the monotony of the flat roofs, contrasting 
with the domes below them, and the short but graceful bell- 
towers that crown each Christian church ; behind all stands 
the high rock with the castle on its top, yellow and grey 
against the brilliant sky. Lower down the houses lose them- 
selves in gardens and the tan yards, among which may be 
seen many an ancient rock-cut tomb. As each house is over- 
looked by that above it, the roofs are less used in Mardin than 
in other Turkish towns ; large balconies taking their places 
for the purpose of sleeping and promenade. 

Mardin contains about twenty thousand souls, and is the 
centre of government for the " Mutserrafiyah '' or division, 
of which there are three in the province of Diarbekr, the seat 
of the Wali or Governor. 

Having fully established myself as the Patriarch's guest, 
I soon fell into the ordinary routine of Eastern life. Rising 
about 6.30 a.m., my room was open to visitoi-s until breakfast 
arrived, some time between eight and ten ; and, as my room 
was a kind of ante-room to the diwan, all sorts and conditions 
of men, women, and children, took advantage of occasional 
delay in their reception by His Holiness to visit or inspect the 
strange creature from Europe. 

Some of the visitors came regularly three or four times a 
week, among whom were the priests and rahabs above 
described, the secretary, and several leading members of the 
Syrian community. Of these there was one man, Abu-Selim, 
known generally as Hawajah* Abu, of whom it is hard to 

* Hawajah, a term striotljr applied to merohants, bat oommonly used as a 
title of respect among Christians in preference to Efendi. Europeans are 
generallj addressed bj the title ; so too the American missionaries as a body 
are called " the Hawajat.'* 


Everyday at Mardin. 75 

speak. Among much that was so disheartening, and dis- 
agreeable to look back npon, it will always be the intensest 
pleasure to remember the loyal friendship, the perfect and 
courteous hospitality, of this good Syrian. It is seldom given 
to anyone to meet a man, to whom month after month under 
most trying and difficult circumstances one can go and 
converse, asking advice and getting full sympathy and help 
in such a way as was possible with Abu Selim. For some 
years he had been the representative of the Syrian people of 
Mardin in the Government, and has always been treated with 
the utmost trust by the Patriarch, to whom his perfect 
uprightness and invincible loyalty have combined with 
thorough good sense and a good knowledge of Syrian history 
and language to make him invaluable. It was this man who 
became my best friend, and without whom life in Mardin 
would have been far more difficult than it was. It required 
wise help at times to avoid shoals and keep a clear course 
through sundry intrigues and jealousies that are sure to fall 
in the way of a European living as the guest of an Oriental. 

One morning Abu came in to my room with his two sons, 
to deliver a formal invitation to attend the celebration of the 
Eucharist at the church on Mar Mika'il on the following 
morning, it being the feast day of the Saint. At the same 
time it was requested that I should visit the school attached 
to another of the Mardin churches, namely that of Mart 
Shimuoeh, and acquaint myself with the learning of the 
Syrian boys. 

The next day therefore, as the Celebration was to begin 
according to the usual custom at a very early hour, we were 
careful to rise almost with the sun ; nevertheless when we 
reached the church we found the service already half 
fiuished. The church is the oldest in Mardin, and, standing 
just outside the walls, forms a conspicuous object in the land- 
scape as the traveller approaches Mardin from the plain. 
The Saint to whom it is dedicated is one of local fame, not 
the S. Michael of the heavenly hierarchy. Little is known of 
him, although his fanciful adventures form on holy days an 
ample subject for the wayward eloquence of the parish priest. 

76 Everyday at Mardin. 

The church is strongly built for protection against Arabs, 
and presents more the appearance of a fort than a place of 
worship. A low door * on the west side, scarcely high 
enough for a sheep to enter, loads into a courtyard, on the 
south side of which is the church, on the north the few rooms 
occupied by the priest, and one used as a meeting-room by the 
committee of the church. We left a very large crowd of 
people on the hillside outside the building, to find nearly as 
many crowded in the little courtyard. 

The feast of Mar Mikail is one of the few besides those of 
the New Testament Saints which have not fallen into disuse. 
The present Patriarch, who by his reforming tendencies at 
one time nearly fell into disfavour with his people, has done 
much good in disencumbering the Church of unnecessary 
feast days and certain antiquated ceremonials, to which, how- 
ever, the people cling with considerable fondness. On this 
account they make no small stir over this feast day, although 
I think it is renowned more on account of the antiquity of 
the church than the fame of the Saint, of whom I could gain 
no surer information than that he rode a white horse and 
fought against the infidels. It used to be said that what 
with Fridays for the Moslems, Sundays for the Christians, 
and the countless holy days of Syrians, Armenians, 
Romanists, and Moslems, scarcely a day remained on which 
one could be sure of buying bread in the market. 

The court was a pretty sight crowded with women and 
children, all dressed in their gayest, for whom there was no 
room in the church. It seemed like a fair, and the children 
and babies seemed thoroughly to appreciate the scene and 
their own fine clothes. When we had made our way through 
these crowds into the church, a stool was placed for me among 
a number of friends, and I watched the course of the service. 
It did not vary from the usual Celebration, except that the 
offertory plate was handed round more frequently. Ignorant 

* These low doors are often found in the mountain churches, especially 
among the Nestorians. The learned say that they teach humility; the worldly 
that they are so built to keep cattle out, or prevent the Kurds stabling their 
horses inside. 

Everyday at Mardin. 77 

of this I gave all my small donation at once and was surprised 
when the verger wished to hand back the greater part of it 
in small change, for refusing which I no doubt gained a con- 
siderable reputation for bounty. 

The offertory and hymns were followed by an Arabic dis- 
course from the Priest, presumably ''fairy tales from the life 
of Mar Mikail rather than sermony/'* as an eager little 
Reformer described such exercises to me. That it met the 
approval of the hearers was evident from the frequent 
"Amens*' and "Gk)d so award '' that greeted each period of 
the preacher, a worthy, thoughtful man, but not endowed with 
eloquence. It is worth noting here that this man, having 
recently lost his wife, and thinking it unseemly for a widower 
to visit the private houses of his parishioners, was intending, in 
accordance with Syrian custom, to leave his parish with a 
view to entering some monastery. 

After the Celebration was over every man and boy came up 
to the altar to receive the blessing of the priest and the sign 
of the Cross with the holy water ; after which they kissed the 
Book of the Gospels, partook of the " Antidoron *' or blessed 
bread, and went oufc. The women did not do this ; for them 
two small boys presided at a font of holy water outside the 
door, and being left by the authorities to their own devices 
enjoyed themselves not a little. During service the women 
had sat behind a screen of trellis work that shut off part of 
the north aisle, whose seclusion gave them: an opportunity for 
discussing affairs, of which, to judge from the noises which at 
times proceeded from this sanctum, they were not slow to 
take advantage. Their number, as usual in the native 
churches, was far fewer than that of the men, although 
at the Protestant service the proportions seemed to be 

Some finely inlaid woodwork, a ninth-century tomb of a 
bishop, and a fine piece of Persian embroidery on the altar 
were all the treasures of which the church could boast, 

* Like the Pre-Beformation sermons in England described as being taken from 
" uncertain stories and legends " in the Samm use. 

78 The Churches of Mardin. 

although is was said that there were many valuable things 
stored in the house of one of the deacons^ it being considered 
unsafe to leave them in the exposed building. According to 
the inscription on the tomb the church was built about the 
year 155 a.d. (466 of the Seleucid era) ; but of the truth of 
the tradition there were no means of judging except that the 
date was several centuries earlier than that assigned to the 
Patron Saint^ Mikail. Having seen all there was to be seen 
in the church, we were conducted to the large diwan on the 
other side of the court, where coffee and cigarettes were 
being busily circulated; but when we had enjoyed these for a 
short time we took our leave, anxious to return to the church 
of the Arbain and obtain a somewhat more substantial 

The church of the Arbain is dedicated, as its name implies, 
to forty saints, said in the oriental '' Acta Martyrum " to have 
suffered in the thirty-sixth year of the great persecution 
begun by Sapur the Great in 340 a.d. Their leaders were 
S. Abde and S. Ebedjesu, who are celebrated on May 15 and 
16. Nothing external shows the building to be a church, 
except a graceful little campanile surmounted by a cross, 
erected by the present Patriarch. By the great western door 
there is also a finely sculptured tomb of a bishop. The 
interior is divided into four aisles by three rows of four 
massive pillars, directly from which, without any capitals, 
about eight feet from the ground springs the vaulting of the 
roof. The massiveness is demanded by the immense weight 
which the pillars have to support, the whole space between 
the vault and the flat roof being filled up with rubble, with 
one good result at least, that the church is as warm in 
winter as it is deliciously cool in summer. 

Upon the altar, before which hangs a curtain of most 
beautiful and rare Mardin silk, stands a fine casket of silver 
repousse work, also made in Mardin, but spoiled by a slight 
excess of gold and red tinsel. In a recess in the east wall of 
the nave are preserved some of the bones of Mar Behnam, 
the much-reputed evangeliser of Mosul, and son of King 
Sennacherib (not the Assyrian monarch). It is hard to say 

The Churches of Mardin, 79 

to what part of the saint's body the treasures belonged, but 
their green colour clearly proved them to be the bones of a 
saint ; and, if a saint, why not Mar Behnam f These were 
the only relics that I saw in any Old Syrian church ; nor did 
they seem to be the object of any particular veneration. 

The paintings with which the walls of some of the Syrian 
churches have been of late years embellished are remarkable 
less for beauty than for the characteristic realism with which 
they are executed. Elijah's ascension is a favourite subject, 
for he is one of the most popular of Eastern saints, both with 
Moslems and Christians, and the flames afford unrivalled 
opportunities for scenic display. The Last Judgment, again, 
is frequently pourtrayed, interesting for the varied studios of 
character, which issue at times in grimly humorous results. 
The figures are as a rule treated, if not with accuracy, at 
least with a certain stolid power and spirit, being all executed 
in deadly earnest, despite the grotesqueness of the result. 
Another subject frequently recurring is the Beheading of 
S. John Baptist. It was generally realistic enough — the 
bleeding head, the grimly delighted expression of Herodias's 
daughter, the sorrow of the Disciples accumulated in one 
massive tear upon the cheek of one sorrowing member of the 
band, with, to prevent all possible mistake, the name of the 
Baptist inscribed in large Greek capitals round the edge of 
the plate which received the blood. 

Of the remaining churches of Mardin, two only are of much 
interest— one, a splendid old Roman basilica, built of stone 
and having a brick dome, which belongs to the GhaldsBans, 
or Papal Nestorians; the other, of the same type but later 
date, to the Papal Armenians. The Papal Syrians possess none 
of the old churches or monasteries in or near Mardin, but 
have built for themselves a fine church and patriarchal 
establishment inside the town, as well as a large convent just 
outside. Relations are, as is natural, strained between them 
and the Old Syrians, while an old bishop, who belonged to 
neither party, assured me that there is as much ill-feeling 
between the various Papal communities as there is between 
either the Papal and Syrian, or Protestant bodies* 

80 The Streets of Mardin. 

As soon as oar frugal breakfast was over^ and Abu Selim 
had finished his cofFee and cigarettes^ we started on our way 
to the church of Mart Shimuneh, whose school we were that 
morning to inspect. The streets were^ as usual^ busy, and 
filled with the motley coloured crowd that lends to the 
dullest town of the East a peculiar beauty. Mardin^ more- 
over, like Diarbekr, Aleppo, and Urfa, presents, on account 
of the fine stone of which it is built, a far less squalid 
appearance than many Turkish towns. True, the outskirts 
are as unpleasant as elsewhere, and the actual pavements 
not inviting. Slimy pools and noisome dust-heaps abound, 
into which some dashing equestrian may push you as you 
walk. But this drawback is outbalanced by the pleasure 
felt at the absence of European fashions, that have not had 
hitherto a favourable effect upon Eastern towns. One may 
see an officer lounging in semi-Bussian uniform outside 
a (so-called) cofiee stall, or an orderly slouching along in 
the uncouth, unbuttoned hose ordained by the "Tanzimat.'* 
All else is indescribably Eastern. There passes a beautiful 
white ass, with gorgeous trappings, led by a white-turbanded 
slave, and bestrode by a shapeless mass enveloped in black 
silk. The precious burden is betrayed by a slim ankle, green 
clothed, and protected from the clumsy brass stirrup by a 
bright yellow slipper. Further on, small Arabs dart in and 
out of groups of solemn blue-robed townsmen, resplendent in 
gay girdles and heavy watch-chains. Presently we pass a 
small procession escorting a bishop on a state visit, and all 
give and receive " Peace, and ithe blessing of the Messiah." 
He wears the head-dress peculiar to Armenian clergy — a dark 
purple robe, on which a rich gold chain and cross glitter. 
Beside him walk a black-robed monk, bearing his staff, and 
a small boy with a huge umbrella for use in open spaces. 
Then we reach the open market, filled with sellers of fruits 
and vegetables ; beggars parading all manner of foul diseases ; 
donkeys loaded with brushwood for burning, or to make 
awnings before the shops ; boys bare-legged, and shouting to 
their animals or friends in Arabic and Kurdish ; while some 
magnificent Turk or proud Arab strolls, with a look of fine 

A Syrian School. 81 

contempt^ througli the scene. When we returned two hours 
later all had dispersed to sleep duriag the mid-day heat^ 
except a few small boys that lay coiled up by their donkeys 
under the shade of a wall. From the market were steps 
leading down an arched alley below the " dukkans " (shops) 
to a lower street^ and thence we dived still further^ making 
our way down the face of the hill, until an open platform was 
reached in front of the church. Here we were received by a 
small party of the chief members of the congregation, and 
escorted to the schoolroom below the diwan, built at consider- 
able expense some years since as an episcopal residence. 
After I had been conducted to a cushioned seat at the top of 
the room next to the teacher, the boys made all a sweeping 
salam, and began to chant, to the tune of the Turkish national 
song, the following hymn in my honour. A copy was handed 
to me in an envelope addressed to "The Right Rev; the 
Mister Master the Inspector," and was translated as follows 
into English : " To my dear Sir the Mister Master. Welcome 
my dear Sir, we are very happy to have you to this hour, and 
both much obliged by your visit to us, and very glad of it. 
and that fill my heart gladness — i pray from Gk)d. that grant 
the happy health peace and prosperity to miss queen 
Vehtorya, and many thanks, i am beg you to accept my 
best wishes on the present accasion. May God bless you and 
give you a happy life at all events. My whereas unskilful to 
the English languag. therefore I beg your pardon and take 
cary of yourself — ." The Arabic, of which this was a transla- 
tion, was extremely elegant. The Syrians are a poetical 
nation, and our friend " Mu'dllim " (teacher) Ablahad was no 
exception, composing odes of various beauty on every 
occasion that presented itself. He was a man of some 
originality, having been well educated at the Papal Syrian 
school, and had a great enthusiasm for teaching and consider- 
able power of imparting knowledge. The devotion of the 
sixty boys to him was most remarkable; all their holidays 
were spent in expedition^ with him into the country, or games 
under his direction in a garden. My visit had inspired him 
with an absorbing desire to learn English, and the above 

82 A Syrian School, 

effusion was translated and written after only three or four 
days' study. He would come, too, phrase-book in hand, and 
insist on inflicting an English conversation extracted therefrom 
on any luckless stranger with five words of English at his 



The interior of the school was a sight familiar to all who 
have visited the East; at the top of the room a chair and desk 
covered with red calico, at which the teacher sat, and a broad 
low bench all round the walls, where the boys placed their 
mats and sat on their heels behind the boxes, which contain 
their books, and on which they write. Each had his own 
brass ink-bottle with long pen-case attached, carried at other 
times in the fold of their ample girdles. The whole effect of 
colours was quite brilliant, the white plaster walls, the 
teacher in his bright yellow tunic, with long grey coat and 
scarlet " tarbush,'' surrounded by boys of various sizes 
dressed in all the colours of the rainbow; while here and 
there some small aristocrat blazed out in a paste ring or a 
silver- mounted girdle, and a pale blue broadcloth jacket or 
frock coat. The boys were dressed precisely as their fathers, 
and looked in many ways like little old men. Upon the floor 
in front were placed rows of red slippers, into which the boys 
snuffled, as they descended to say a lesson, or make a display of 
algebraic gymnastics upon the blackboard. In the middle 
was a carpet spread, on which the smallest boys, for whom 
there was not room above, sat and twiddled their thumbs in 
open mouthed awe at the learning of their elders, pretending 
all the while to learn Mar Ef rem's Syriac hymns. It was a 
picturesque dress that they all wore, and serviceable in a 
country where bright colours harmonize well in the blazing 
sun, and the heat makes stockings and tight waistcoats 
intolerable. It was a little trying to have to listen to the 
schoolmaster's effusion, especially when a hopeless pnjnuncia- 
tion crowned the absurdity of the English. An irresistible 
temptation to laugh at the mock solemnity of the whole scene 
was disguised by a smile of imperial approval, which my close 
connection with ''miss queen Vehtorya'* surely warranted. 
Sherbet and cigarettes were brought to sustain us, while the 

A Syrian School. 83 

parish fathers watched intently to see the impressiou made 
upon me by their boys' display of ability. 

The good order of the boys, their general quickness and 
eagerness to work, especially when the absence of all com- 
petitive stimulus was taken into account, wore quite astonish- 
ing, and showed Mu'allim Ablahad to be a man of ability and 
the boys worth teaching. But the excellence of this school 
was only one of a few exceptions to the general rule of 
mediocrity, such as was found in most of the schools in towns 
and villages. Arabic, Turkish, Syrian, and sometimes 
Persian are the subjects usually taught, with geography, 
arithmetic, and a species of history. For religious teaching 
the Gospel is read in a perfunctory way, and its meaning 
sometimes expounded, while all else is comprised in a short 
Catechism lately printed at Deir-el-ZaWeran. 

As soon as the formalities demanded by the occasion had 
been gone through, and sufficient polite speeches made, we 
were escorted out into the street, and found our way slowly 
back to the church of the Arbain. 

o 2 

84 Ths Bazar. 


Maedin, and its Syrian Inhabitants, II. 

The chief function to which I was invited during my stay 
in Mardin, was a dinner party given by the leading Syrians 
at the house of Abu Selim. I was sitting one morning in his 
dukkan, which stands in the centre of the great bazar of 
Mardin, when a formal invitation was presented, requesting 
my company that same evening at twelve o'clock d la Turka, 
that is at sundown, to which time I determined, in order to 
show my appreciation of the honour, to be punctual. Mean- 
time I sat in the dukkan and watched the progress of business. 
The bazar is a large space about a hundred yards square, 
completely covered by very lofty vaulting supported on square 
stone pillars. Between these are rows of dukkans, facing 
each other, and divided by a narrow passage along which the 
world may pass. It was mid-day and we found the place 
crowded, for it is always very cool, and dark; and on the 
small platform in front of each store, which generally 
measures about ten feet square, lounged the gossips of the town 
talking to the owners, who sat cross-legged displaying their 
wares to some Turkish servant, or a stalwart unveiled dame 
from the Kurdish mountains. The coffee seller passed up and 
down as purchasers took their places to inspect the goods, 
and were regaled with cigarettes and coffee at the merchant's 
expense ; and at one comer a tall Armenian from Diarbekr 
presided over an ice pail and a dish of maccaroons, while a 
boy walked up and down crying out the charms of this novel 

All Enlightened Syrian. 85 

luxury. The dukkans seemed to contain nothing but cloths 
and calicos piled from floor to ceiling, mostly of European 
manufacture^ Manchester cottons, and French muslins, 
Austrian broadcloths, such as Efendis love for their flowing 
robes, and the thick striped silks from Diarbekr or Aleppo, 
that are so much used for the tunics of men and boys. 

There was little air of business about the stalls, except 
among those who were engaged in making up accounts. 
For the most part no one seemed anxious to buy, nor did the 
lordly merchants court custom. I have many a time sat an 
hour in one of these dukkans, without seeing five customers 
in any of the neighbouring stalls. Gossip is always rife, and 
very interesting it is, as soon as familiarity has removed the 
restraint imposed by a stranger's presence in this land of 
suspicions. There are very few Moslems who do business in 
these bazars, nearly all the trade being in the hands of the 
Christians, who occupy various quarters of the building 
according to their church. Bound Abu Selim's store was 
quite a group of others belonging to various members of the 
Syrian church. In one, belonging to Melki-Qas-Elias, who is 
considered in virtue of his age to be the leading man in the 
community, I spent several hours talking of politics, so far as 
that was possible in a public place, of education in England 
and Turkey, of the Syrian Church and the prospects of 
Christian and Moslem ; or at times the conversation would 
turn on agriculture, in which Melki, who was a considerable 
land owner, showed great interest, and being very anxious to 
find the means of importing from England a steam plough, 
made numerous inquiries as to its price and power of work. 
Few men that I met in Turkey, showed so much appreciation 
of progress, or so good an idea of how it might and should be 
advanced in Turkey. But alas ! such things seem at present 
a dream. It was a pleasant place to lounge in, and hear the 
news, eating slices of cucumber and sipping coffee ; and all 
that made itself felt of the mid-day heat was a shaft of sun- 
shine shooting almost perpendicular down through the grated 
opening in the roof, and giving just light enough for the 
transaction of the quiet business of the day. 

86 A Dinner Party, 

At six o'clock the same evening Yakob and I were due at 
Abu Selim's house for the dinner party to which he had 
invited us. Having had a hint of the time over which such 
entertainments are spread, I arrived, in spite of my former 
resolution, an hour late, and was a little surprised to find 
myself even then almost the first arrival. Others soon came, 
and a feeble stream of conversation trickled on, until the 
arrival of a tray full of glasses, containing a warm dilution of 
a soft brown colour strongly flavoured with cinnamon, and 
very sweet. I was inexperienced enough to ask its style 
and title, and was told with injured surprise that it was 
tea, prepared a VAnglaise, though that was one of the 
last names with which I should have connected the beve- 
rage. Tea is becoming a favourite drink in Turkey, not 
instead of coffee, but of the sherbet or cooled drinks that 
are handed to guests ; it comes generally from Russia, 
and although a trifle dear on account of the carriage, is 
extremely good, when .properly made. And this was tea I 
was drinking. 

Abu Selim's house was comparatively new, and rather 
handsome, for he was a well-to-do man, and with his two 
brothers kept a large establishment. It is curious how even 
late in life the younger brothers generally continue to occupy 
a position of inferiority in the house, unless they separate 
from the paternal roof, and set up homes for themselves. 
Selim's brothers were Jio exception, and were treated more 
as upper servants, serving us as we sat at meals, and 
taking altogether a lower position in the diwan than our 
host. The families of all three lived in this one house, 
and filled the five immense bedsteads that stood in the 

From the ground floor, containing the courtyard, entered 
by a large iron-bound door, the stables, and kitchens, in 
which the women sit during most of the day, cooking, wash- 
ing clothes, or weaving, a narrow stair leads into a large open 
'' balakhana " (balcony) about fifty feet square, paved with 
fine yellow limestone, and enclosed on the open side by a 
beautiful stone balustrade, that lends a quite Italian character 


A Dinner Party. 87 

to the house. This court forms the chief living place during 
the summer, being filled with large wooden beds for lounging 
during the day and sleeping by night. The view, as from 
all the open balconies of Mardin, is glorious over the roofs 
and across the boundless plain below. Into this court open 
various rooms, in one of which, lately built in the handsomest 
modem style, guests are received. Windows, doors, and 
every spot that gives any opportunity to the ingenious 
architect, are covered with a profusion of carving in rich 
Arabesque design, good though somewhat lacking in 
originality. Persian carpets enrich the room, and in an alcove 
stands a magnificent wardrobe of walnut wood, inlaid with 
ivory and olive wood, to contain the bedding during the day 
time. Third-rate glass and crockery from Prance or Austria 
bedeck the walls, ranged with gaudy prints of ballet dancers 
and amiable European sovereigns framed with their blue-eyed 
progeny in German-gilt frames, and blazoned in all the glory 
of Russian oleography. A photograph of the Patriarch and 
another of a bishop complete the decorations ; for it is hard 
so to classify the mirrors hung about the room, which betray 
the self-satisfied with reflections of weird distortion. The 
other apartments that form the ordinary dwelling rooms are 
far less elaborate, being arranged facing each other round a 
square space, from which they are divided by a low wooden 
balustrade. Here the ladies and children hide during an 
entertainment, and engage in the mysterious concoction of 
coffee and other delights. 

We sat down for some time listening to the apologies for 
the inferiority of Mardin to London, that pass for politeness, 
until cigarettes and coffee appeared, followed by a string of 
guests with the^ usual train of servants and boys, who took up 
their station at the lower end of the diwan, in expectation of 
the fragments that should fall to their lot from our table. It 
is usual, when one dines out, to be accompanied by a servant, 
who carries the lantern through the streets, keeps the 
narjilah full and lighted, fetches water, and makes himself 
generally useful to guest and host, receiving in return a good 
supper and an occasional glass of arrak. Last of all arrived 

88 Syrian Mvsic. 

the musicians^ with a violin, cymbals, and kanun* ; a fourth 
sang, or rather emitted vocal soands. Abu Selim's son had 
been entertaining us on the kanun for some time, as well 
as Yakob, who played it uncommonly well. Selim, too, had 
sung some of his favourite hymns in a manner quite ex- 
cruciating ; but his evident delight at thinking that he 
pleased us quite outbalanced the pain he caused. Such of 
the Turkish tuues that Yakob played, would have been 
excellent, if one could get accustomed to the doleful system 
of tuning the instrument in a minor key, and the frequent 
use of quarter-tones. There was plenty of talking and 
laughing among the guests, about what I scarcely understood . 
while Selim read to me extracts from a splendid copy of 
Bar Hebrseus in his possession, and told me how great a 
calligraphist he himself was. He is, indeed, a most exquisite 
penman of Syriac, and has written some hundred copies, 
chiefly portions of the Scriptures, the Psalms, and service 
books, for different churches. He was much troubled, 
however, by the wretched binding with which he has to be 
contented ; the printing press at Beirut does admirable work 
in other departments, but there is still much to be desired in 
their book-binding. Nor do the Dominicans at Mosul, even 
if Selim would allow one of his precious manuscripts into 
their hands, show much better results. An account of English 
workmanship in binding and printing only caused a hopeless 
sigh, although Selim has hopes that some day work may be 
done on the Patriarch's press of which the Syrian people 
may be proud. 

After waiting two hours, supper began to cast its shadow 
before it. A man came in and spread a gaily-printed cloth 
upon the floor, while another placed a low stool in the centre 
for the monstrous metal tray that was rolled in after him by 
two boys. Others followed with cushions to recline on, a 
profusion of towels, more or less discoloured, for napkins, and 
baskets of bread cut into long, thick strips, which they placed 
all round the tray for use, Vergilian fashion, as plates or 

* A kind of zither played with the finger tipped with metal. 

A Dinner Party. 89 

scoops for gravy. A few knives and forks to be shared 
among the guests^ and a number of wooden spoons^ with 
which to drink the sour milk, or leben, completed the 
preparations. Then the chief guests were invited to sit down 
to a succession of dishes, crowded one after the other on to 
the tray^ sweets and meats, regardless of any fantastic 
laws of order or digestion, and as rapidly swept off by jealous 
hands to make room for other dainties. There was seldom 
time for more than one mouthful from a dish, as the atten- 
dants, who depended for their own supper on the amount 
they could rob from us, stood over us like harpies, very 
ravening, if the dish was savoury. One delicious compound 
of almond paste and dates I retained by means of keeping 
my knife in it, while its contents were ladled with a fork ; 
but not for long, for it was soon snatched jealously away 
by the hungry boys. 

As dishes came and went, some of the guests grew freer, 
declaring that knives and forks were a vain invention, that 
fingers were made first, and other whimsical aphorisms. So 
fingers took the place of forks, and plunged into the dishes, 
which, as they grew less to my taste, suited theirs the better; 
until the appearance of sour cream and garlic evoked a most 
ecstatic grunt of delight, that warned me to forbear. Last 
and chief came the lamb, roast whole, in an enormous copper 
cauldron swimming with rice and gravy, and stuffed with 
every delicacy of the season. This is one of the Syrian ideals 
of bliss ; and as, by this time, all Frankish conventionalities 
had been discarded, limb was torn from limb, until all that 
remained to tell the tale were a few bones and a paltry pile 
of rice. 

Rose water in a metal ewer and a large basin were welcome, 
as we rose panting from the fray, which had lasted in all not 
more than fifteen minutes. Nor were we sorry to drink some 
iced water from a lovely little silver bowl as we settled down 
again to coffee, cigarettes, and quiet talk. " Arrak,*' a 
liqueur distilled from grapes and very powerful, that forms a 
sort of vade viecum of most Syrians, had been flowing most of 
the time, and increased the general hilarity, and especially 

90 A Dinner Party, 

that of the musicians, who had kept up an appalling noise all 
through dinner, except when relieved by a chorus of Syrian 
hymns, led by a teacher in one of the schools and sustained 
by small boys of the household. I had once told Abu Selim 
that I was interested in these ancient hymns, with the result 
that my arrival was always a signal to the thoughtful old man 
to start a succession of them. But, to speak truths there are 
few things more trying to English ears. But the hymns only 
filled intervals between the performances of the professional 
musicians. The violin was held upside down^ tuned in a 
minor key without reference to fifths, and scraped with a bow 
that had never known resin. The second in command beat 
time with the cymbals, which he sent out from time to time to 
be warmed, in order that the tone might be sustained. The 
performer on the kanun was the most tolerable, had it not 
been for a most diabolical whistle, which he uttered occa- 
sionally by way of a diversion, placing two fingers in his 
mouth and bringing the sound by slow and agonising degrees 
down to a whisper. 

Two of these men shared a cigarette between them, which a 
small boy kept alight, smoking it when it was not occupied, 
and handing it from one to the other as required ; he was not 
an accomplished smoker, swallowing most of the smoke, and 
turning very pale. The vocalist, however, was the most 
noticeable of the musicians, but for his eye rather than his 
voice. As soon as he began to sing, his right eye would 
shoot to the right top corner, and his head begin to shake 
in the most distressing manner, shaking his eye to its place, 
if it did not go there at once. The louder he sang, the 
more he shook, and the further went his eye, until at for- 
tissimo, he had to hold his jaw with both hands to sustain 
the effort. To this accompaniment conversation dragged 
slowly on in the general groove of politics and trade. 
Much interest was aroused when someone asked how much 
such a grand feast would cost in England,* or London, 
which was satisfied when I replied Sphinx-like, that London 

* England and London are interchangeable terma in Interior Turkey. 

A I>inner Party. 91 

was one place and Mardin one place^ and it would be hard 
to obtain such a feast in my own country. It was now 
past eleven o'clock, and as the little schoolmaster was walk- 
ing solemnly up and down the room with a reed-pen in one 
ear, and a lighted cigarette in the other, it was clearly time 
to go to bed. 

■^>»Co^ — 

92 The Papal Aiinenian Priest, 


Mardin^ and its Moslem Inhabitants. 

'* Whence comest thou ? 
What is thy country ? and of what people art thou ? " — Jonah. 

One day in May tlie city of Mardin was in a ferment of 
excitement owing to the expected arrival of a person who 
was not only a General of the Turkish Army, but one of the 
numerous brothers-in-law of His Sublime Majesty the Sultan. 
As much splendour, therefore, as the place could command 
had been arrayed to meet and do him honour. But, unfortu- 
nately, just as the great man, with all his troops, was half- 
way between Diarbekr and Mardin, the rain began to pour in 
the most pitiless and unreasonable manner, and continued to 
do so for two whole days. 

The Patriarch had borrowed a fine mare that I might go 
out with the Bishop of Deir-el-Za'aferan and Khuri Ibrahim 
and meet the Mushir (for such was his military title) half- 
way down the hill upon the north side of the town — a 
ceremony always demanded by the arrival, in official 
character, of any personage of sufficient grandeur. 

The first person I met in the crowd, into which we were 
soon swept, was a Papal Armenian priest, who, ever since the 
day that my muleteer brought him to my room at the church 
after my arrival, had been a frequent visitor. Being a born 
gossip, he spent all his time that was not occupied in the 
daily services of the church conversing in the barber's 
dukkan with other men who had plenty of spare time, or 
calling on newly-arrived dignitaries from Europe or the 

The Papal Armenian Priest. 

South. He spoke passable French, learned during a stay in 
Paris, and, being a man of refinement, which found little to 
satisfy it in Mardiu, whither he returned to make a home for 
an unmarried sister, loved to talk of Venice and his home 
at the Armenian convent, or of the picture galleries and other 

wonders he saw in his travels. Among other accomplish- 
ments, be bad the art of making feeble copies of the old 
masters, and adorned his little room with these — a strange 
contrast to the surroundings of an Eastern house. On this 
day be was slipping along over the wet stones and drains in 

94 The Mushir. 

his high-heeled polished goloshes, and had all the work he 
could manage in keeping up against the wind and rain with 
his great maroon umbrella, and long crape veil upon his head. 
He was very envious of those who were fortunate enough to 
have horses, as he shouted after me to remind me of the 
promise I had made to be at home the following day. 
However, we had to leave him, to catch a sight as best he 
might of the Mushir, and make our way through the dense 
crowd without any danger of being trodden under foot by the 
excited Nizam (regular troops), or, as it is easy to do in 
Mardin, falling down the chimney of an adjacent house. 

The flat housetops were crowded, chiefly with women and 
children, the former all in their long veils, if not too poor to 
have them, or too old and ugly to need them, and the latter 
in all the gaiety of their red tarbushes, striped tunics, and 
silver buckles, forming such picturesque groups as only the 
East can afford, as they looked over one another's shoulders, 
and enjoyed themselves in spite of the rain. 

There were streams of people riding, or on foot, upon the 
road for some distance from the town, until we reached two 
companies of ragged police and soldiers lining the road in 
readiness to salute His Highness. Soon we saw the Mushir 
and his officers winding round the lower bend of the road, 
where the coffee-house is, and the Saracen fountain-house 
under the walnuts, and a few horsemen dashed up towards 
us in an aimless way, followed by a motley company of 
cavalry. After them came a group of some dozen officers, 
gorgeously dressed, and among them the Mushir, conspicuous 
by his plain, white astrachan cap, and jacket of Russian 
fashion. It was a very pretty sight as the company moved 
slowly on, and man after man out of the crowd dismounted to 
kiss his hand, and, retiring to mount again, fell into the 
disorderly cavalry behind. He was a young-looking man, 
very handsome, and with a more European appearance than 
accorded with his company; he had travelled a good deal, 
and seemed prematurely grey. The bishop, following the 
example of the others, dismounted to deliver a welcome from 
the Patriarch, while I stood aside. We then mounted again, 

A Sijrian Weiiome. 95 

and fell into the miscellaneous guard, which was now difBcult 
to distinguish from the cavalry. Here I found the value of a 
mare who would answer every vibration of the rein in a 
motley crowd, scarcely half of which could do more than keep 
their seats, for though these people are, from the nature of 
the country, on horseback from children, yet it is the rarest 
thing to find one who can ride even passably. Indeed, they 
ride by the dim light of nature, on very small saddles, and 
with their knees nearly level with their hips, and retain their 
balance by means of the mane, bridles being usually con- 
sidered superfluous ; so that they sway like poplars, and do 
all the guiding with a whip, seldom cantering more than a 
few hundred yards without a fall. 

The procession ended in a large number of half-breed Arab- 
Kurds, enrolled at Diabekr as irregular cavalry, who were to 
escort the Mushir down across the plain. They looked very 
fine, for they were in themselves far more picturesque than 
their companions, whom they despised as slaves; and were 
upon horses that they rode well. As we drew near the 
town we heard sounds of cheering, and general apprecia- 
tion of the honour which was -being done to Mardin ; but 
all was drowned by the ardour of the combined choirs of 
the Syrian churches, who, all in their white surplices, and 
gaily-coloured stoles, and undeterred by the rain, broke 
out into a fine Arabic hymn in praise of Mushirs, Sultans, 
Sultans' brothers-in-law, and '' Tanzimat.*' This effusion 
was composed by the Syrian teacher at the church of 
Mar Shimunah, who had written the touching hymn for my 
welcome, and was created Poet Laureate to the Syrians by 
the Mushir on the spot. 

At this point, owing to the narrowness of the street, I lost 
the Bishop, and got entirely entangled among the Arab 
recruits -, and, being unable to turn, was swept along until 
we reached the open space before the Serai, where the Mushir 
disappeared, and I had to ride back alone between the admir- 
ing crowds that still lined the streets. Turning up the lane 
leading to the church of the Arbain, I nearly rode over the 
Armenian priest, who was in a terrible state of mind, having 

96 A State Visit. 

gone by the wrong road, and missed the whole procession. 
His only hope was to call immediately on the Mushir and give 
him the welcome he felt was expected. I discouraged his 
plan^ and advised him to join our party the following day, 
when the Patriarch would pay a state visit to the Mushir in 
the Serai, and take some following with him. To this he 
agreed, and I parted from him to go home and make myself 
warm and dry. 

There was always a good deal of stir in the Patriarch's 
house when a state visit was in prospect ; so that the next 
morning my room was turned into a sort of ante-room, and 
crowded with those whom His Holiness refused to see. Great 
preparations were being made ; the best robes were brought 
out, a crimson tunic, bound with a white and gold embroidered 
girdle, and a black satin " Abba '' crossed by a long green 
sash, on which were sewn the seven orders that the Patriarch 
wore on such occasions. His beard had to be trimmed, 
and such washings of hands gone through as made one feel 
quite cool, and then the old man sat and had his breakfast 
while his attendants prepared themselves, and adorned their 
master's mare with the purple and silver trappings proper to 
the day. 

In the middle of the morning the procession started. First 
walked two monks, Elias and Bfrem, the one bearing the 
Patriarchal stafP, the other the cross ; behind them came the 
Patriarch on his mare, with a deacon on each side to clear the 
way, and keep beggars from hanging round the horse and 
kissing the Patriarch's hand. A few piastres were distributed 
to the poorest, to the rest the answer was continually given, 
"God is beneficent," obviously implying that the Patriarch 
was not. It is as much as to say to one who asks ''Bakhshish," 
" Mafish " (I have not anything) ; only the Oriental has butter 
under his tongue.* Behind walked Yusef the "Katib" (secre- 
tary), and then came a few Syrian elders mounted on mares, 
with myself. It was curious to notice how magnificent an effect 
was made by such a small procession in an Eastern town, as 

* See Barton, '* Mecca and Medina/* i. 8. 

A State Vigif. 

everyone made way, or struggled up to kiss the hand of the 
Patriarch, as splendid a figure on his Arab mare as could be 
conceived, or obtain an " Allah Ma'kum" (God be with you), 
a3 he passed. Through the bazar and up a narrow street 
we came to the open square before the Serai, and found it 
crowded with new recruits, zaptiehs, and soldiers, attendants 


State Visit. 

on the Mushir, or police of the town, who, for the time, 
formed a guard of honour. Throogh the gateway of the 
Serai ofiicialij and visitors were passing in and out aa our 
little procession stopped, and all dismounted to follow the 
Patriarch into the hall and up to the room where the Mushir 
held his diwan. 

98 The Serai, 

There was indeed a notable crowd in the room, as we 
entered, and one and all rose to give the Patriarch " Peace," 
and the Mushir to lead him, in virtue of his three and ninety 
years, to a seat of honour. Shoes were shed, and made one 
more row by those already laid at the door, and we sat down, 
to commence the ceremony of giving " Peace "* to everyone 
in the room who chose to accept it, and settle down to 
cigarettes until coflfee was served. A decent period of 
solemn silence ensued, during which a handsome silver shibnk 
was pressed on the Patriarch but refused, and gave me an 
opportunity of scanning the company. On the left hand of 
the Mushir on the cushion of honour in the corner sat the 
Mutserraf, or provincial governor of the town, a man the most 
impossible and boorish that I met in Turkey. Such a person 
sticks in the memory, for the Turks nearly always are polite 
and endowed especially among men, with the grand manner. 
But this worthy, next to whom I sat, the Patriarch being 
on the right hand of the Mushir, as soon as I sat down, 
commenced a violent attack on England and all her works. 
The intense dislike felt by Mohammedans for England 
as most conspicuous in the march of freedom is generally 
veiled under a frigid courtesy due to men who rule so 
great an empire. But this man knew no restraint, and 
abused, with a freedom I nowhere else saw, the perfidy, 
the wordiness, the slow-moving regard for moralities, that 
characterises her policy. The Moslem cannot but admire 
the rigorous uprightness of her Indian rule, her justice to 
men of all creeds; but he hates her. The Turk hates 
her more for the obligations by which she has bound him. 
" Bulgaristan *^ has an ill-omened sound to him, rasping 
an open sore, and somehow England, and one of her 
Ministers in especial, seems the incarnation of the spirit 

* At Mardin Christians g^iye the salate of " Salam Aleikom " (peace be upon 
70a), and receive its answer, even from Sharif s (descendants of the Prophet) ; in 
another place it would be the highest possible oatrage. In some towns the 
torband is the only part of the dress in which particular colours may not be 
-used, in other the hoots only ; while in some again every garment has its specified 
shade. — Buckingham, " Travels in Mesopotamia/' i. 324. 

The Mutserraf. 99 


he hates. " Of a truth they are Sheitans,* these English ; 
there is no trusting them. Russia they hate more, for they 
are a more present danger. To Russia and England the 
Christians look, to the former as the power which they believe, 
to the latter as that which they hope, will come to possess the 
land. England, and her great Queen, is everywhere the 
protector of the oppressed, and it is wonderful the prestige 
which England possesses among the people merely from the 
rule of a Queen, who has sat fifty-five years on the throne, 
without an attempt at her overthrow, or one outbreak of 
disloyalty among all the nations she rules. We are too 
occidental in our ways for the Easterns, but the great Queen 
is one of the elements that make us regarded by them. I 
complained later of the tone in which the man spoke ; but 
the Patriarch, to whom I mentioned it, merely shook his 
head, and said he was the " Father of disgust,^^ and had no 
" Politika.^'t 

I turned to my other neighbour, the " Reis,^' or Mayor of 
Mardin, a man of very different style, sitting in a most easy 
manner, one leg curled up beneath him, and smoking a huge 
'' narjilah.^^ I discovered that he had been to England, seen 
the Queen and a number of distinguished people, with none 
of whom he cared to talk, as they could give him no coffee, 
and no rocking chair, such as the American missionaries had. 
The Queen had given him one, and he sat in it before her ! 
but he only saw the Queen for a short time ! " She sat like 
a man, when I was in the room,^^ he said. Then he played a 
little with his '^TaBbih*' (beads) that indispensable plaything 
of the East, and asked me whether I cared for the colour of 
his hair. It was a bright orange colour, having been that 
morning freshly dyed with henna. I evaded the question 

* Sheitan — a word without definition— explains itself. Onr greatest oriental 
diplomatist might be described as Sheitan. See Barton, ** Mecca and Medina/* 
i. Ill, ii. 230. So Mrs Bishop, "Travels in Persia," i. 19, 171. "England 
talks and does not act '* (cp. ii. 128, 272). 

t A term applied to all the arts that are comprised in onr old English expres- 
sion " A man of parts," as well as snggesting diplomatic ability and good 

H 2 

100 The Prophet's Hair. 

by saying that we had no custom to dye oar hair. ''Ah 
then, yonr women must have light hair sometimes ; you like 
that, I suppose, and blue eyes ; ugh ! just like the Amerikanin/^ 
I admitted the soft impeachment, and praised the colour of 
the Mufti's (doctor of law) beard, which was black. "Ah the 
mufti, he is proud of his beard, and don't you know ? but 
please God, you do know, as I, 'Hamdul-Ullah,' learned some- 
time since ; he has, peace be upon him, and the mercy of God, 
a hair of the blessed one, peace be upon him, a hair of the 
prophet's beard. ' Subhan Allah, ya Engliz (glory to God, 

Englishman) ' '' ; and he looked curiously at me to see what I 
thought of the hair. Trembling lest I should commit myself, 

1 asked what he did with it. " Mash Allah ! it is his star, his 
' qiblah,' the light of his dark nights ; and, do you know, he 
shows it once a year in a small ebony box, which the people, 
the faithful ones, kiss, peace be upon them and God's 
mercy, and freedom from torment for ever." I wondered at 
the power of the hair, and was dumb. 

The Mufti, who caused this digression, had just entered, 
and behind him the cofPee. Those for whom this was the 
second relay, drank their cup, and watched their opportunity 
to rush out of the room like bolting rabbits, their hands 
beating a tattoo on the hearts and foreheads, a mauoeuvre 
designed to circumvent the polite host, who would otherwise 
conduct them to the door. The Mufti was such a solemn 
black-bearded man as I never before saw, and sat next to the 
Qadhi (judpre), who was distinguished by a band of gold braid 
round his turband. The Mufti was gorgeous with green,* 
being a holy man and the possessor of the hair of Mohammed's 
beard, and seemed to take little notice of anyone in the room 
except a reverend sheikh, likewise arrayed in white and 
green, who occupied a seat of honour near the Mushir. This 
man was one of seven brothers, sheikhs and holy men all, 
another of whom was Sheikh of the ancient village of Dara, 
near Mardin. He was a man of most polished manners, and 

* The oolonr gxoGn generally denotes a claim to descent from the prophet, 
being worn by Sharifs. 

The Qadhi, 101 

talked pleasantly of things in general, and to me of things 
Turkish and English, bewailing the state of affairs in Turkey, 
and the leaden weight of custom that retarded progress. 
With the Patriarch he seemed especially friendly, and spoke 
in a way that betokened intimacy. 

At last cofEee was again served, and the Patriarch rose by 
the help of Rahab Elias, and walked slowly to the door 
accompanied by the Mushir, and my friend the Reis. There 
was one more visit to pay, to the Qadhi in his own diwan. 
The same ceremonies were gone through, and the same con- 
versation followed, flavoured with inquiries as to customs in 
England, especially the manner of conducting legal inquiries. 
I was, with pardonable pride referring to the well-know u 
integrity of our bench, when the Patriarch gave me a 
warning look. I desisted and began to describe our courts 
of law and juries. The warning was necessary, for in Turkey 
law, except in mere matters of technical legality, has been 
largely reduced to a matter of £, s, d,, and a case is decided 
by the extent of the douceur offered. Bribes are received 
from both parties to a suit as a matter of course, and the 
award goes to the highest bidder ; and the higher and more 
unimpeachable the court, the higher the bid must be. The 
administration of law is one vast system of bribery ; and to 
speak of the integrity of law courts is to provoke a smile of 
pity from a Turkish audience. Such a thing as impartial 
judgment appears to them not only impossible, but foolish. 
A man of law in Turkey depends on bribery for half his 
income, and owing to the vile system of allowing men to hold 
offices for a short time only, there is the ever present tempta- 
tion to make hay while the sun shines.* 

This visit over, our little train once more sought the streets, 
the Qadhi conducting the Patriarch and trying to make him 
accept a finely chased cigarette holder, which His Holiness 
refused, saying that he would only have to give one more 

* Mrs. Bishop's words apply equally well to Turkey as to Persia : " There are 
few men (in Persia) pure enough to judge their fellows, or to lift up clean hands 
to heaven, and power and plaoe are valued for their opportunities of plunder" 
(op. Maclean and Browne, p. 26, 128, Stc.). 

102 The Qadhi. 

handsome in return ; besides which he cared little for 
" fantasia."* The old man was very tired, for he had been 
out four hours, a long time for a man of ninety-three ; so we 
mounted and rode in procession slowly ro the church. 

The Mushir remained a week in Mardin enrolling fresh 
recruits from the inhabitants of the plain, and then proceeded 
to Nisibin. There he caught sight from his tent of the 
Syrian church of St. James, the only building in the village 
worthy of the name. Having expressed a desire to sleep 
there, the large diwan over the church was prepared for him. 
When night came on and his own devotions were done, being 
of an inquiring mind, he requested the Bishop's servant to go 
through the form of his evening worship, during which his 
Excellency fell asleep. He pronounced therefore in the morning 
a favourable opinion on the man's devotion, and gained in the 
eyes of the Bishop, a simple man, who was absent at the 
time, the reputation of being a very Christian man, who for 
the sake of his position professed the faith of the false 

* A word deaoriptive of all kinds of ornament in words or tbings. 

QaW aUel'Mara, 103 



On to Gtod's hooae the people prest : 
Passing the plaoe where each mast rest, 
And entered like a welcome g^^est. 


About five miles eastward of Mardin and lower down towards 
the plain lies the monastery of Deir-el-Za'aferan. The ride 
from the eastern gate of the town, along the new Turkish 
road, above the gardens of figs and almonds and numerous 
vineyards, is one of extreme beauty. Not only is there the 
view across the boundless plain, with its varying shades of 
colour, its "tells" and villages, but westwards are the lower 
ranges of hills which rise out of the plain and grow more 
lovely as the sinking sun sharpens their outlines and throws 
the long shadows one upon the otner. Eastwards are gai:dens 
too, a " paradise " with plane and walnut trees, stone-built 
fountains, in which the water from the hills above is husbanded, 
and where may usually be seen a group of women washing 
clothes, and boys who have galloped out their masters' horses 
to water, or a jaded drove of mules and donkeys resting after 
a weary journey from Mosul. A mile or more from the town, 
under the high range that runs far eastward, a bridle path 
leads ofp the road through vineyards to the village of Qala'at- 
el-Mara. Here and there, among the vineyards, one may see 
an erection of four poles roofed with brushwood, and a plat- 
form of the same, on which those who guard the grapes may 
take refuge from the noonday sun, and sleep safe from 

104 QcUa'at-el-Mara, 

scorpions and snakes, such a booth as Jonah made at Nineveh 
and Isaiah often speaks of. The village contains a flourishing 
community of Syrians, occupied chiefly in making wine and 
weaving. They nre ignorant, and therefore quarrelsome, 
although there are among them a few men of enlighten- 
ment, and one excellent priest. As is often the case, 
the three other priests look with little favour on their 
more worthy and more popular brother, regarding his 
continual visits to the private houses and diligent reading 
of the gospels as an encroachment on their own rights. 
It may be added that he was at one time attached 
to the Congregational community ; but leaving them he 
was ordained priest at ttie urgent request of the village, 
and combines with the true doctrines of his own church the 
good he has learned from the American missionaries. His 
popularity is a considerable proof of the Syrian affection for 
the Bible. Within the last few years a large, handsome 
church has been built by the exertions of the villagers. The 
Patriarch gave a considerable sum towards the work, and, 
much to the delight of the people, celebrated the Holy Com- 
munion in the church one morning during last summer. 

The name of the village is accounted for by the existence 
of a ruined castle on the top of the high conical hill, at the 
north foot of which the village stands. Who the lady or 
princess was, to whom tradition says that the castle belonged, 
it is impossible to tell. The natives of course say that she 
was a daughter of Darius, king of Dara, and held the fort 
successfully against Tamerlane. Perhaps the castle was, like 
the tower that stands near Dara in the plain, a fortification 
of the Romans or Persians; while, from the number of 
Sassanian coins found in the district, it would appear that it 
was built by one of that dynasty. Little remains, however, 
from which to determine its date. 

The path from the village leads across a stream, which like 
the x^^P^ of Greece becomes a mere dry watercourse in 
summer, to a rich plateau, half-way between the top of the 
mountain and the plain, on which stands the picturesque 
monastery of the yellow rocks or Deir-el-Za'aferan. The 

Deir-tl-Za'nferan. 1 05 

building has called for little attention from various travellers 
who have visited it, nor could it have merited much from 
a casual observer, who perhaps would not have been 
permitted to see some of its most interesting contents. It 
is ten years since the place was restored by the present 
Patriarch, who obtained contributions for the purpose from 
all his people; so that now it forms a really imposing building, 
the additions being not only substantial but exceedingly 

As this monastery formed my home for some five months 
of the year, and also on account of its architectural 
beauty and the interest connected with it as a type of an 
eastern monastery and the headquarters of the Syrian 
Church, a rather longer description than usual may not be 
out of place. 

High walls of massive masonry run all rouud the front that 
faces the plain, and inclose a large court, half of which serves 
as an inclosure for the mules, cattle, and goats, the other half 
as an entrance and stableyard. Along one side of the latter 
run the outer stables for the use of strangers ; while on the 
north side steps lead up to the monastery. Before, behind, 
aud on each side of the building are vineyards and gardens, 
with many a fruit tree and a pleasant reseivoir. The little 
yellow figs are very abundant ; and as they fail and are dried 
for winter use are succeeded by pomegranates and great juicy 
almonds, pears, and walnuts. In a good year the almonds 
and olives bring in a hundred pounds of revenue; but little 
care is taken of them, except during the pickiug season, so 
that they, like the grapes, do not yield half of what they 
should. The wine of Deir Za'aferan is justly famous, although 
few strangers are privileged to drink it ; for not only is very 
little made, but the greater part of it is put aside for sacra- 
mental use, the grapes for this purpose being pressed by the 
hand instead of being trodden by the feet. As much, how- 
ever, as remains over at the end of the year is used for general 
consumption with the ordinary wine, although the monks 
themselves are very abstemious all through the year, and 
seldom touch either wine or " arrak." 

106 The Garden, 

The kitchen-garden, well-stocked with lettuces, pumpkins, 
cucumbers, and marrows, forms a delightful place in which 
to spend the heat of the day. A stream of cold water is 
collected in a great tank that stands in the middle for bathing 
and washing clothes, and runs from a marble mouth iuto the 
great " aiwan," or covered court, so commonly used in the east 
as a refuge from the sun. Mulberry and walnut trees form a 
pleasant shade, and keep off the mosquitoes ; while there is 
always occupation, when needed, in killing off as many as 
possible of the small locusts that infest the country in July. 
To sit in such a garden as this, and hear the water trickle, and 
eat fruit, is the eastern idea of bliss. The horses tethered just 
outside cause an occasional diversion by stretching their cords 
and getting within pawing distance of each other ; or one of 
the Syrians sets up one of those indescribably monotonous 
songs, all nose and throat and quarter tones ; while the rest 
smoke, and, especially if there are Moslem Efendis amongst 
them, sip small glasses of " arrak." On these afternoons in 
the garden, the small boys, after their work among the fruit 
trees and sheep, or in the monastery, would rig up a swing, 
and get really hot like English boys ; or they would bathe in 
the pool, or sometimes play draughts with pieces of pome- 
granate peel and a board improvised on a flat stone. In the 
evening, when the daily service was over and the day^s work 
dt)ne, the Bishop would come down, and we would sit and 
listen to old-world stories of the Syrians, or to the latest news 
from Mardin. 

Up the steps from the courtyard to the monastery we 
pass through an immense pair of iron-bound doors into the 
cloister that runs all round the inner quadrangle. To the 
right of these doors and over the stables in the outer court 
are the four new rooms built for the printing presses, at 
which the Bishop spends most of his spare time. The door at 
the end of this . building leads on to the roof of the stables, 
and there we sat, evening after evening, watching the 
sun go down and the lovely lights succeeding each other, 
chameleon-like, over the plain. One could conjure up 
visions there of what this country had once been, and 

The Courtyard, 107 

dream of what it might once again be, until a boy came to 
call us in to a frugal supper and the nightly inspection of 
the horses. 

Within the quadrangle is at all times a busy scene, but 
especially towards evening; the deacons are preparing 
the boiled wheat and fruit for the monks' supper upon a 
raised stone dais in one corner; the boys are leading the 
horses that have just come in up and down the pavement to 
prevent them catching cold, and a group of monks sit reading 
or talking, listening perhaps to the news of a stranger from 
Mosul or Aleppo, or welcoming home a monk from travels 
among the mountains. The cloisters are arched all round ; 
to the east is the great church of Mar Yakob, and to the 
south of that the mausoleum of the Patriarchs and the 
Bishops of the monastery. The former is a fine building, 
nearly square, with immense walls, in the thickness of which 
are alcoves ten feet deep. The capitals of the columns are 
richly but roughly carved, and a frieze of floral design runs 
the whole way round the church. The semi-domes over the 
alcoves are filled with modern and very bad paintings, as are 
the spandrils of the roof. There is also a dome, devoid of 
ornament, the outside of which is not circular, but a four- 
sided pitched roof of tiles. The eastern part of the church is 
of course occupied by three sanctuaries, the centre one con- 
taining the high altar, the north being used as a chapel for 
special occasions, such as the making of the oil of ordination 
and baptism ; the south serves as a vestry and for the pre- 
paration of the sacramental elements. These three chapels 
are divided from each other and from the church by massive 
walls, in which there are doors, and are all of different 
shape. Against the wall, on the north side of the central 
sanctuary, stands the Patriarch's chair, in which he is con- 
secrated and which he always afterwards occupies. It has 
the name of Peter and Ignatius written in gold.upon the back, 
along the top and side of which runs a lovely design of 
inlaid ivory, and underneath is placed a card inscribed with 
the name of the reigning Patriarch. The chair is covered 
with a valuable Persian carpet, and has a high wooden canopy 
above it. 

108 The Church, 

Almost the only other ornameDts of the church are the few 
altar vases, the Cup and Paten which always stand there 
covered with an embroidered cloth, the Patriarch's and 
Bishop's staffs, the cymbals, the fans, and the candle- 
sticks. On the reading desk before the altar is placed 
the old manuscript Gospel* and Bible, lections from which 
form one of the chief parts of every service, and in the 
body of the church a lectern is placed on either side, con- 
taining the prayer and psalm books for the people's use. 
On the south wall is the portrait of the founder, the only 
original painting in the church. The Syrians never have 
approved of picturest since the days of Jacobus Bardaeus, 
and these portraits are the only genuine paintings to be found 
in their churches. 

Morning and evening and at midday the bell J of the con- 
vent sounds for prayer. The Bishop and all the monks 
attend, as well as many visitors. An account, however, oi 
these services will be reserved for a fuller treatment as part 
of the ritual of the Syrians. 

The mausoleum that adjoins the church on the south side 
contains little of interest, except the tomb of Mar Evgen 
(Eugenius), a renowned Syrian saint, to whom the building 
is dedicated. The tombs are placed in large recesses, of 
which there are eight ranged round the walls, each containing 
several Patriarchs or Bishops. Like the Patriarchs of Athens, 
buried in the chamber on Mount Lycabettus, they are placed 
in a sitting posture, side by side, some of the chambers con- 
taining as many as ten. This manner of burial is not usual, 
the ordinary clergy and la3rmen being interred outside the 

* The ^spel placed on thia desk is always bound in silver, chased with a 
representation of the Crucifixion, of Bysantine design. 

t Ainsworth, ii. 343, is quite incorrect when he speaks of the Syrians as partial 
to pictures. Such as they have, except of the kind mentioned in the text, are 
undoubtedly due to the Papal influence. Many have also been sent from 

X The number of bells in the Syrian churches has considerably increased of 
late years, many new belfries haring been erected, and bells procured from 
Europe or America. In some places the old ciitoMlpo , or board, is still beaten 
instead. At Dcir Za*aferan it ia used now only to call the monks to meals. 

The Church. 109 

church, and in the same posture as is customary in England. 
It is, moreover, usual to place several bodies in the same 

One of these recesses contains a font, but it is seldom 
used, there being few families in or near the convent. By 
far the most remarkable ornament of this chamber, or 
even of the monastery, is the richly carved entrance of 
late Roman style, dating in all probability from the end 
of the eighth century, if we may judge from the analogy 
of work at Nisibis and Dara. Its characteristic features 
are the immense size of the stones used, and the shell 
designs in the canopies.* 

The bricks that form the arch of the cloisters here and in 
other parts of the monastery seem also to point to a Roman 
date for the earlier portions of the building. 

Beneath this church and that adjacent to it is a most 
extraordinary underground chamber, of the use of which the 
monks are perfectly ignorant, although they believe, as usual, 
that it contains a large amount of treasure. Its existence is 
on this account kept a profound secret, an easy matter con- 
sidering how difficult the entrance is to find ; nor is it at all 
improbable that treasure has been hidden there. I was very 
anxious to search for books, for I am persuaded that such a 
monasti'ry must contain books somewhere, and there are very 
few above ground. But the Patriarch is very much averse to 
excavations of any kind, and will not allow the earth, which is 

* John, Patriarch 1124-1165 a.d., one of the most distingaished heads of this 
Church, restored many of the Syrian monasteries, and bnilt others, ohieflj in the 
neighbourhood of Mardin. Deir-el-Za'aferan had been restored bj Ananias, 
Bishop of Mardin, about 793 ; but haying fallen into ruin was again restored by 
John, who says that he was ignorant of the saint Evgen to whom it was dedi- 
cated by Ananias. In the same way Behnam, the patron saint of a church near 
Mosul, was unknown to history. Under John the monastery was adorned by the 
monks, and furnished with many books, among which were certain copies of the 
gospeli and other books in the handwriting of John himself. 

The monastery is called that of Ananias, the second founder, or the ** monastery 
of the Yellow rooks " or the monastery of *' Mar Evgen, and twelve thousand 
saints." Cp. Asseman, Biblioth. Orient, ii. 334. 

The copy of the Bible, which Bar Hebrieus mentions as presented by the 
Patriarch John, still remains in the monastery. 

110 Deir-el'Za^aferan, 

piled up at two ends of the chamber, to be removed. The 
ceiling, which supports the floors of the churches above, is 
noticeable as being flat and of stone ; it is still perfectly level, 
which speaks wonders for the strength and symmetry of the 
masonry. The resemblance between all the older masonry 
and that of Dara is very striking, and is thought by Doctor 
Badger to favour the tradition that assigns its foundation to 
'' Mar Hananya of Kafr Jutha, a village in the plain, who is 
said to have purchased the building fifteen centuries ago 
while it was yet a castle, and to have converted it into a 

Under the eaves of the large church there is a frieze of 
curious carving carried round the four sides. Its rather 
uncouth designs, birds, flowers, mitres, and croziers, suggest 
very forcibly a Byzantine influence, of which we shall find 
later on very marked signs in Jebel Tur. The three remain- 
ing sides of the quadrangle are occupied with chambers for 
the monks, store-rooms, a large kitchen, and a third church. 
This last is now quite dark and never used, except as a store- 
house for grain. The chancels still contain their altars, and 
are closed by doors of wood, beautifully inlaid, like some of 
the doors to be seen in Mardin. But they are chiefly remark- 
able for containing the shattered remains of fine mosaic on the 
floor, evidently of Roman workmanship. 

At the south-west corner of the large church a turret stair- 
case leads to a '^ balakhana,'' or terrace, that runs all round 
the quadrangle above the cloisters. On to this opeu a 
number of rooms, most of which are not very large ; at one 
comer is the Patriarch's winter diwan, a large and pleasant 
room, with a most glorious view to south and west across the 
plain and up the Qala'at-el-Mara Valley. His summer room 
is immediately below this, but it is older and less pleasant. 
These two and the guest room are the only rooms, except 
those containing the press, that are glazed. Last summer His 
Holiness, having spent a week at the monastery and been 

* The tradition is perfectly correct, althoug^h the date is too early. John 
speaks of Ananias as the second founder. 


The Kurd. Ill 

rather unwell, took a dislike to the place, and lived for the 
remaining months of the summer in the house that he usually 
occupies during the winter at Mardin. 

These rooms, which are part of the building added by the 
Patriarch, are extremely substantial and comfortable. They 
are built of hewn stone, and are well fitted with cupboards 
and benches, so that I was able, with the help of a few 
carpets, to fit up in one of them a very pleasant diwan during 
the summer months. 

It only remains to notice the ''kursi," or throne room, a 
large square chapel, containing an altar of stone. Behind 
this is a marble altar piece, said to have been consecrated by 
St. Peter at Antioch, and to have been brought to its present 
position by the successors of the Apostle. I know no 
explanation of the curious design carved upon it and 
originally painted ; two sheep seem to bow on each side of a 
Greek cross, behind which what seems to be a palm tree 
radiates. This is framed by an arch, round which are carved 
the words in which St. Mark records the great commission of 
our Lord. Two more arches, one above the other, raise the 
whole to the height of about sixteen feet from the floor. A 
few hideous pictures of Russian workmanship, and a tomb 
containing the bones of the 12,000 martyrs mentioned above, 
complete the furniture of this neglected house of God. It is 
used f(»r the final enthronement of a Patriarch, after he has 
been consecrated in the great church of the monastery. Of 
this ceremony of consecration the following is an account, 
contained in a letter sent in 1872 by the present Patriarch 
to Mar Dionysius, Metropolitan of the Syrian Church in 

" At that time all the representatives of the councils bearing 
the seals of all their chiefs and the Mutrans of our nation, 
sent to us and reached us in Amid (Diarbekr). Therein it was 
said, for our information, 'We have chosen you to be our 
Patriarch.* And at that place the chiefs of Amid and all 
other places received us. And we were carried to Mardin 
amid a vast concourse of our people and others, escorted by 
the King^s soWiers, and in grand procession of numerous 

1J2 The Patriarchs Consecration, 

people, as if to testify to the greatness of the Lord and the 
blessedness of the Holy Church. And in these days countless 
people from Amid, Besanagari,* Athur,t and Gosaratha of 
the Chaldaeans,J the lands of Bissaria,§ and Turabdien,|| and 
Mardin and all its bounds to the deir of Kurkuna^f came to 
sing. And they said to us ' Thou art chosen by us as our 
shepherd to make firm the whole Church/ and again all 
shouted as from one mouth, by the act of God and by His love. 
And after some days, when Pentecost drew near, there came 
Episcopas, Rabbaiis (monk*?) Kashishas (priests), and 
Deacons ; and the King and his armies,** and the 
lshmaelites,tt and the Armeninns and the Chaldseans, who 
were all more desirous to see than the Syrians themselves ; 
and several nations of believers in Christ, men, women, young 
men., boys, children, and virgins, in parties, in batches, in 
lines, in crowds, in rows, and from all sides, and in several 
colours. Great notice and great press ensued, such as has 
never before been witnessed. And after matins and the holy 
and divine mysteries, the consecration began. Then as the 
time of the imparting of the Holy Spirit came, there arose of 
one accord a terrific and shaking voice from all the Bishops, 
from the vast numbers of Priests, from the Deacons, and from 
all orders, and from the entire Church ; and they (the people) 
from outside and inside shouted ' Auxios, Auxios, Auxios, 
Mar Abuna, Mar Ignatius ! 'J J Surprise and excitement 
overtook all ; a new song was made at the time, while the 
Mutrans and Episcopas chanted the Cadesa,§§ and the whole 

• Unknown. 

t Assyria or Nineveh. 

X Unknown. 

§ District of Basra, onoe an important diocese. 

II The mountain of the monks, Jebel Tur, as it is called in Arabic. 

^ The Syriao name for Deir-el-Za'aferan. 

*^ It must be remembered that the writer wishes to impress the Bishop ; he 
refers perhaps to the WaU and a few Zaptiehs. 

ft Arabs. 

XX " Worthy, worthy, worthy, is our father, the Lord Ignatiup." Auxios is 
the Greek A^ios, 

SS I.e.y Holy, whether part of the Liturgy, or some hymn peculiar to the 
occasion, is not clear. 

A Problem of Lanquages, 113 

concourse chanted Breec Ikkorac,* and the Deacons, Ehup- 
deacons, Koroyans^f and Msamrans,! sang praise in crowds. 
And then I stood with the Mutrans and Episcopas, and each 
one held with his right hand the ebony staff that is bound with 
silver of the Patriarch. And first, the chiefest among them 
vowed the vow of his obedience to me, who held the lowest 
place ; and he moved his hand below mine, and then the next, 
all in order, testifying their obedience and love to their new 
Patriarch. So men and women rejoiced ; young men leaped 
rejoicing, young women and virgins sang praises to the Lord, 
and boys and children clapped hands and rejoiced. Bells and 
cymbals rent the air, and the King and his armies stood 
grieving. They separated the crowds with clubs and blows. 
Others than Christians in great numbers stood amazed, and 
in spite of themselves sang praise to God. And thus the 
crowds lived at the throne of Antioch for ten days, eating at 
the same table, filled with all good things and rejoicing.'' 

One Saturday evening, when the grapes were growing 
black and the sheathes of the almonds near to bursting, I 
sat with Rahab Ibrahim under a great walnut tree close to 
the monastery, and watched the people streaming up the 
steep road to the gate. He had been speaking of the 
language, and discussing the method to be pursued when 
they began printing again at the Deir. Over a large area, 
inhabited by his people, Arabic is the language in common 
use all through Syria, as far as Aleppo, from Mardin to 
Mosul, in the northern part of Jebel Tur, and again in Sert. 
Turani, a corruption of the classical Syriac, is spoken chiefly 
in Jebel Tur, while in the neighbourhood of Urfa, Diarbekr, 
and Kharput, Armenian and Turkish contend for supremacy. 
In Diarbekr, these lingual streams meet, and a fine Babel is 
the result. But everywhere the more educated use the 
Syriac character for writing the local language, a combina- 
tion known as '' Garshuni," whereas the Rahab thought that 

* These words are not Sjriao. In Arabic, they mi§^ht be intended to mean 
the " Brightness of shouting." 
t The readers. 
X Unintelligible, Mshamshana is a deacon in Syriac. * 


114 A Problem of Languages. 

few even amon^ the higher clergy understood the classical 
language well, although everyone could read it by rote. The 
use of Syriac or Garshuni seemed best to meet the require- 
ments of the printing press for two reasons : First, that the 
people consider any attempt to tamper with the national 
language as an attack on the nationality itself, and the 
ancient hymns and psalms, translated, would no longer fit the 
music of St. Efrem and his successors. An immense value is 
attached to these hymns, and the tunes serve, no less than the 
language in which they are written, as a great bond of the 
people. Strange tunes they are, starting on a high note, and 
coming down by gradual degrees through strings of appoggia- 
turas to a quiet minor hum. Quarter tones are used with a 
result strangely out of harmony with our ideas of music ; 
but sometimes when one hears in the evening three or four 
voices of monks that sit singing round the fountain in the 
garden, the melancholy sound, softened by distance, has a 
mysterious and not unpleasing effect. In fact, though the 
music and the national language set to it deserve respect, yet 
Rahab Ibrahim had to admit that a language used chiefly for 
church books and services could not be of much use except 
as a subject of careful study in the schools, and that the chief 
reliance must be placed on Garshuni. 

Uahab Ibrahim was enthusiastic about the Deir; would it 
not restore the glories of Edessa, and would not the spirit of 
their blessed Efrem be upon it ? Then would Hebrew and 
Greek again be learnt, as it was clearly learned by those who 
wrote their old manuscripts, and then would the study of 
piety and good literature flourish again in the land. 

We walked back by the garden, and went into the Court, 
where the '' aiwan " is, and the water collects in a large basin 
for use in the garden. Old Yakob, the Patriarch's nephew, 
the gardener here, was letting o£E the water by channels, and 
leading it from terrace to terrace among the lettuces, and 
bamiyahs (Hibiscus esculentus) and cucumbers and pumpkins. 
Every evening he did thia; but to-day he had to contend 
with a dozen small Mardin boys, who were among the crowd 
which had come over for Sunday. They wished to bathe, 

An Eastern Garden. 115 

and would block up his channel^ until the old man^ losing all 
patience^ called his son Sulaiman to guard one channel while 
he was posted at another. So the boys gave up their bathe, 
and made mischief by loosening the halters of donkeys left 
at the gate by some women who had come to wash their 
Sunday frills, and a fight was the result. 

We sat and watched these things, "making keif" with 
cigarettes and fruit, as though it was all done to amuse us. 
One becomes very philosophic ''making keif'^ in a hot 
country; and I doubt whether we should have had energy 
enough to interfere, if the boys had driven off the donkeys. 
They were not our donkeys ; what did it matter ? 

The aiwan close to which we sat, beneath a walnut tree, 
covered one of those springs " whose waters fail not," that are 
the chief joy of the East. Its main use was to irrigate the 
garden on the terrace below. This was done by planting the 
vegetables in rows within the small square beds, and 
surrounding each of the latter with a little ridge, through a 
breach in which the water might be let, when required. In 
this way the water may be controlled with the greatest ease, 
and very little is wasted. 

In the hill country, where the fields lie generally on the 
slopes, down which the streams flow to the valleys, the water 
is led off in channels dug parallel to the sides of the hills and 
so used for irrigating the crops befow. These channels are 
often carried for great distances along the sides oF hills, and' 
are sometimes used to turn a mill wheel. It is in these places 
that trees chiefly flourish, having their roots fed by the water, 
just, as it is said, that the famous vine of Hampton Court owes 
much of its fertility to the fact that its roots reach to the 
Thames. Where rice is grown, or cotton, the irrigation is on 
a very large scale, and is apt to render the neighbourhood liable 
to fever through the large amount of water lying about and 
the consequent unhealthy vapours that rise after sunset ; but 
these irrigated gardens are an exceedingly beautiful feature 
of an otherwise dry country.* 

* The method of irrigation employed by the banks of rivers is well described 
by Layard, i. 353. 

I 2 

IIG An Ecmteim Gard^v. 

Old Takob^s garden was a very fruitful plot, thanks to his 
untiring zeal and skill in tending it, so that there was no lack 
of the finest vegetables all the summer, except when the 
locusts came and swept all the lettuces off the face of the 

In one comer a little tobacco, or ''tutun,'^ was grown for 
the use of the monks, but its quality was not good. All 
round the garden were hedges of walnut trees, bearing fruit 
far larger than that of England, and rows of pomegranate 
trees, brilliant with their small scarlet flowers, and later in 
the year with rich red leaves and russet fruit. Mulberries 
red and white there were, magnificent fruit, and the air was 
heavy with myrtle and the pine trees. Lower down below 
the garden the flowers grew wilder, and amid clusters of 
roses yellow and pink, the pale iris and flaming anemone 
dotted the ground among the vines ; and further still were 
gorgeous clumps of balsam and hollyhocks among the corn- 

This beauty fled as the rains ceased ; and when the 
sun grew hotter, and the armies of locusts began their 
invasion., there was little of verdure or bright colour to be 
seen round the Deir, except in Yakob^s garden below the 

As we sat half dreaming under the walnut tree the bell 
began to toll, and everyone awoke, for it meant sunset, and 
the evening prayer, which all attend, if not to j^ray, at least 
to swell the volume of the psalm singing. We walked slowly 
in, and entering the great gate found ourselves in the middle 
of donkeys with jangling bells, screaming to one another, 
horses whinnying for their food, or snorting for a fight with 
their nearest neighbour. The yard was strewn with packages, 
mattresses, babies, panniers ; all the paraphernalia of a night 
encampment, so that it seemed one mass of confusion. 
Within the second court, things were little better, and the 
way to my room was crowded with helpless women, drawing 
water from the well or collecting firewood to cook the 
evening meal. The poor old monks had fled to their rooms, 
and left the management of the throng to the deacons, who 

Evening Prayer, 117 

helped everyone, settled one on the roof, another in the 
aiwan, gave out mattresses, and pitchers, and com, until order 
was a little restored, and the bell ceased tolling as the evening 
prayer began. 

The church was dark enough, except where a boy held a 
twist of tallow candle to light one of the great psalm books, 
round which the chanters crowded. Such, a shrieking noise 
was never heard in church, of boys outdoing each other in 
zeal for psalmody, and proud to show their knowledge of the 
tune and words. A row of solemn monks stood before* the 
sanctuary, in low voice cbanting the same psalms they knew 
so well. The key in which they sang was quite different from 
that chosen by the boys; nor indeed did fresh comers at all 
concern themselves to discover any key already in vogue, 
provided they sang a similar tune, and introduced scale and 
trill at the right place. Among the crowd assembled round 
the lecterns strayed baby boys, or went from monk to monk to 
doff their caps and kiss the old men's hands. Other boys sat 
against the wall and looked on quietly, while in a row by the 
western door sat mothers and children, and here and there a 
white-veiled girl. It was a beautiful scene, and very solemn, 
these people at their evening prayer, preparing for the Lord's 
Day ; and the solemnity grew as the psalms ceased and the 
candles all went out, except where two deacons held one on 
each side of the Bishop, as from before the altar he read in a 
fine rich voice, first in Syriac, then in Arabic, the evening 
lesson for the day.* During this, all the men removed their 
turbands, and stood intent, until, as the deacon pronounced 
the Gloria, they again covered their heads and returned to 
the singing of psalms. The singing was, of course, anti- 
phonal in a church looking to Ignatius as one of its earliest 
bishops; for it was he who is said to have invented the 
practice common now to East and West ; and in nearly every 
Syrian church stand two lecterns, one on each side of the 

• Cp. Briirht*8 "History of the Church," p. 253, who rocalla the tract of 
Jerome against Vigilantius, who aflBrmed that throughout the East the lighting 
up of tapers in broad daylight was a mode of welcoming the reading of the 
CK>ipel. Such is the case also at morning prayer. 

118 Evening Prayer, 

sanctuary door, round which the people crowd, reading as 
easily upside down as any other way ; it seems in fact to make 
no difference which way tljey read Syriac or any other 
language. At one part of the service one member from each 
of the two groups stood in front of the altar, and there the 
two chanted in antiphon several psalms. This singing is 
much admired among the Syrians ; and indeed the chant to 
which the verses were sung was the pleasantest I heard, and, 
when well sung, the effect was beautiful. The psalms were 
followed by hymns of St. Ef rem, in which all joined with that 
heartiness which is so characteristic of the Syrian services. 
Congregational they are in the fullest sense of the word. 
Then came prayers and collects, followed by the evening 
Psalm (xci.), and then the Bishop blessed the people, who 
came one by one to kiss his hand before they left the 
Church.* By some intuitive sense, peculiar to this people, 
each found his own shoes among the rows in which 
they had been deposited on entering the church. No one 
enters a church for prayer, or at least treads on the car- 
peted floor, with shoes upon his feet. The priests and 
deacons, however, who minister within the sanctuary, gene- 
rally wear yellow shoes, in place of the black or red ones 
worn in daily life, just as they wear special garments during 
such ministrations. 

The Deir was noisy enough for several hours after the sun 
went down ; but gradually, as supper ended and cigarettes 
or shibuks began to glitter like glow-worms about the roofs, 
the women prepared for sleep and the boys started the 
nightly hunt for scorpions. This is a necessary precaution in 
a place where everyone sleeps on the floor, and where 
scorpions abound as they do at the monastery, and very 
exciting were these hunts with candle and lantern, and very 
delighted were the boys when they caught a scorpion, and 
fixing a candle-end on its back coolly watched it burn to 
death. It is asserted on good authority that scorpions will. 

• The reader ^honld refer to the very full account of the East Syrian services, 
which are very similar, given by Maclean and Browne, p. 212-242. 


Whit-Sunday. 119 

when they see themselves threatened with certain death, sting 
themselves to death, as, for instance, when surrounded by a 
wall of fire. There was little need for them to exercise this 
prerogative in Deir-el-Za^aferan. 

The next day was Whit- Sunday, and it was the special 
service for that day which had attracted such crowds to the 
Deir. Almost before daylight the bell began to toll, and 
the deacons had risen to prepare for the morning service. 
Soon the chanting began, and family after family rose 
and streamed into the church. The men stood or sat on 
carpets in rows in the middle of the church, hosts of 
small boys surrounded the lecterns, or busied themselves 
with the deacons in preparing the sanctuary. Behind, 
against the west wall, the women congregated, for in 
this church there was no divided aisle for them. Each one 
entering put off his shoes and laid them on a rack placed 
for that purpose by the door ; then walked to where the 
sign of the cross was carved or painted on the wall, and, 
having kissed it, retired to his place to join in the prayers 
or psalms. 

In addition to the men and boys crowding round the two 
lecterns, there was another choir, similarly divided, that stood 
within the sanctuary on each side of the altar to sing the 
anthems during the celebration. The sanctuary was therefore 
very full, for besides the priests there was a large number of 
deacons, both boys and men, who assisted in various ways at 
the service. 

The service of the previous evening was considered, in a 
manner, connected with that of the morning,* inasmuch as 
all who came to the latter were supposed to have attended 
the former. It is of course the rule that no one should 
partake of food before the morning service. During the 
prayers that preceded the altar service or celebration, the 
celebrant and a deacon prepared the new bread and wine. 

* Aooording to oniTersal ecolesiastioal oustom, each day is supposed to begin 
at sundown on the previous day, whether for feasting or fasting ; hence in 
theory, the seririoe of the previous evening is connected with the morning 

120 Whit^Sunday, 

In this way no interval remains between the two services ; 
and, in theory, there is none between the evening and 
morning services, for the monks are supposed to spend the 
whole night watching, praying> and repeating the psalms in 
the church. 


A Syrian School, 121 


Life in the Monastery. 

I WAS not infrequently awakened in the morning by the 
sound of Sulaiman^ my small attendant's voice reciting a 
chapter of the Syriac Gospel, or learning some psalm or hymn 
of St. Efrem by heart. There sat on the open space of 
the balcony, on the opposite side of the court to my room, a 
group of boys and deacons of the Deir around an elderly 
monk named Bahab Melki. This latter was a good, quiet man 
who gave such time as could be spared from his devoiions to 
teaching this small band of eager learners the way of the 
Gospels. There they sat in their white tunics and red caps 
round the dark-robed monk, each with an ancient folio, as 
heavy as he could carry, upon his knee, spelling out the words 
or reciting in the loud and droning voice that soon became so 
familiar to my ear. After a time, would follow a lesson in 
chanting, far less pleasing to listen to, for all sang at once 
and in different keys. 

One day there came a deacon, one Shammas Efrem, from 
Nisi bis, a man filled with zeal for education, bringing with 
him a younger brother, whose whole soul was absorbed in the 
study of the ancient works of Syrian Saints, and teaching 
them and the services of the Church to any boys he could 
collect about him. Such a quiet little fellow he was, with 
shaven head and great serious eyes, and it was wonderful to 
see the eagerness with which, lying at full length upon the 
floor before a huge folio, he taught some child, scarcely 

122 A Syrian School. 

smaller than himself, who lay in the same position on the 
other side of the book, to read and sing the contents. 
Sometimes he would carry on his work of love late into the 
night, with some wondering little boy, holding a roll of 
candle that steadily dripped upon the parchment page. His 
brother had a great scheme for opening a school at the village 
in the mountains where he lived, and promised to build the 
necessary rooms if a teacher could be provided, and help 
gained for his maintenance from headquarters. He was one 
of the most intelligent Syrians that I saw, and a man with 
less idea than most of turning things to his own advantage. 
Unselfishness is not a common Eastern virtue. The younger 
brother was most eager to learn in the school at the monas- 
tery, and made the best of his time learning from Rahab 
Melki, and teaching others in his turn. 

It was very touching to see the affection of pupils for 
I eacher in this little school ; for, while this feeling is usual, 
yet the monk was a peculiarly lovable man, and the deacons 
and boys would do anything for him, and could scarcely be 
persuaded to leave him in quiet. Not less remarkable was 
their quickness, and the wonderful power they displayed of 
learning by heart. This is a great peculiarity of the Easterns, 
due rather to the absence of books than to any especial 
ability, for in other ways their genius is not so noticeable. 
In consequence of this, a large part of their lessons are 
learned by rote, a habit most carefully and continually to be 
guarded against. The quickness which characterises the 
children is said, by those who know the Syrians, to fail in a 
remarkable way soon after they reach the age of fourteen ; 
but comes at the right time to be of value in the schools, for 
few boys can afford to remain at their books, at least in the 
country places, after the age when they can do useful work 
in the fields. Schools, therefore, which may be filled up with 
such boys in the winter, are apt in summer to fall to a small 
number of children of a much lower age. 

The power of reading a book, whichever way it is held, has 
been already noticed. We may compare the numerous other 
things, such as sewing and writing, which the Syrians do in 


Morning at the Monastery, 1 23 

an opposite way to ourselves. The great desire of most boys 
and parents is to learn English, partly because of the success 
so many of their people have had in obtaining work aud 
earning much money in Europe and America, and partly 
because of the interest with which they regard English things, 
and especially the English Church. It is, however, most 
important to restrain this zeal, and in all things direct the 
attention of the children to -the perfecting of their native 
manners, and the acquiring an education entirely befitting 
their country and race.* The subjects taught are very 
limited in these monastery schools, few learning anything but 
Syriac, and Biblical history. Some acquire a '^ beautiful 
pen,^' as the art of writing, so highly prized in this land of 
manuscripts, is called, but most reach only the reading stage, 
and learn only so much as may serve them to take their 
proper share in the Church services. 

The morning service in the Deir was generally ended soon 
after sunrise, when the noise of the school would awaken me, 
and call me out to walk upon the roof and enjoy the lovely 
morning air, until the heat drove everyone within doors. 
Sulaiman, as soon as he saw me, would run to my room for 
the water jars and carry them off to fill for my bath and 
breakfast from the well in the court below. Old Yakob, the 
cook, had then to be reminded in the midst of his boiling of 
wheat for the Rahabs that I needed eggs or milk for my 
more sumptuous meal ; and he would come passing all 
obstacles to overwhelm my hand with morning dewy kisses, 
in token of gratitude for medicine with which I had once 
healed a bad scorpion bite. He was a curious old man, 
rather the butt of the monks, being very slow of mind and 
speech, and having the most sage notions as to the manner 
of conducting the business of the Deir. But it was unsafe 
to jest too far with him, for at times he would refuse to 
cook the wheat, or give up the keys of the huge store room, 

* Maclean and Browne have some valoable remarks on this subject, p. 170. 
The neglect of the principle is a serioos defect in the work of the American 

124 Threshing Corn. 

which he controlled, and then there were loud cries among 
the monks. 

At this hour of the morning most of the monks were 
outside the monastery, and one might catch glimpses of them 
superintending the picking of fruit, the loading of mules, and 
grooming of horses. For the Deir was a busy place, even 
when service was not going on ; and during this summer the 
Bishop and monks had continually to ride over to a village 
some six miles away, to inspect the building of a water mill 
upon some property of the Patriarch. 

Later in the summer the threshing of corn gave a busy look 
to the great space between the vineyards and the back of the 
Deir, and then the figs and almonds had to be picked, so 
that the days seemed short enough, and passed pleasantly for 
one who cared to watch the work of the several seasons. The 
threshing floor was a fine place, level and beaten as hard as 
iron, and hither was brought load after load of wheat to be 
threshed out and winnowed before it was stored in the granary 
within the walls. 

For some days there was always a busy crowd upon the 
threshing floor. Boys were driving donkeys heavily loaded 
with sheaves of corn, which they piled one after another 
round a huge stake in the middle of the floor. Round and 
round the stake through the livelong day another boy drove 
four or six oxen yoked together to tread out the corn ; while 
round another heap of sheaves a man holding an iron spike 
or a goad drove a rough threshing machine consisting of a 
wooden board heavily armed with spikes and nails,* on which 
he sat to keep it firmly on the ground. Everyone sang to 
urge the cattle on, snatches of Turkish popular songs, and 
sometimes some old Syrian refrain. Whether in obedience to 
the old Mosaic law or not, the oxen were not muzzled, but 
snatched from the wheat so much as they wished. 

* For these instraments see Dent. xxv. 4 ; Judges iii. 31 ; Isaiah xli. 15. 
The last is used to out up the straw into chaff or " tibn/' which, after it has 
been trodden, is used in the place of hay for feeding cattle and horses, mixed 
with oats. 


Threshing Com, 125 

In another part women and children were gathering the 
broken chaff in shovels, and heaping the wheat in long lines 
exposed to the wind, while chaff and husks of com were 
flying from the winnowing fans that men and women tossed 
in the air.* Others again swept up the winnowed corn and 
chaff, leaving the former to lie until the Government assessor 
of the tithes should come, and gathering up the chaff to be 
stored within the monastery for winter use. Overlooking all, 
and encouraging them in the work, stood Mutran Elias, the 
Bishop ; and a happy company they all were, toiling in the 
sun, and undisturbed by village Aghas. 

Within the monastery sat the women grinding day and 
night wheat for the daily bread. How monotonous through 
these months the sound became, of the two stones turning one 
upon another ! for they grind slowly, and but small quantities 
at a time, so that there it is seldom that the people can leave 
grinding. In some places where water is plentiful there are 
mills to grind the corn ; but the nearest one being built by 
the Patriarch was five miles from the monastery, and was 
not yet completed ; so that the women were kept hard at work 
grinding between the millstones. t 

The sun soon becoming too hot to allow us to stand idle round 
the threshing floor, I would go back to the Deir, and spend 
the remainder of a long morning reading and writing, or 
teaching one of the monks out of my books. A " Shammas,'* 
or Sulaiman would bring my morning dish of grapes 
and figs, a dish I should blush to consume in England, and 
little interruption occurred except from some boy compelled 
by sunstroke to leave the threshing floor, or another suffering 
from fever. But the Deir was a wonderfully healthy place, 
free from fever, and therefore from one half of the trouble 
which life in a semi-tropical country generally involves. 
Still there were now and then calls for aconite or quinine, but 
the majority of the cases which were brought to me were of a 

• Isaiah xxx. 24; Matth. iu. 12. 

t The Yrtlue sot by millBtones may be gathered from Dent. xxiv. 6 : " No man 
shall take the nether or the upper millstone to pledge ; for he taketh a man's 
life to pledge." 

126 Medicine, 

diflferent kind. Scorpion stings, and cuts of all kinds, snake 
bites, and all manner of varieties of internal pains made the 
chief demand on mv medicine stock. Whatever was the 
complaint, it was necessary to feel the pulse, and examine the 
tongue, neither of which operations ever threw any light on 
the matter in hand. The second requirement was to prescribe 
diet,* which the natives, with sound common sense, consider 
a most important element of cure. While finally it was 
necessary to measure out with great care drop by drop, or 
grain by grain, for to this great importance is attached, the 
panacea provided. Not least necessary was it that its taste 
should be strong and bitter, a want easily supplied by the 
admixture of some quinine. 

The Syrians love quackery, and the medicine man must not 
despise externals. They have, too, some notable, if not com- 
mendable, cures, which they borrow from the Arabs ; such 
as the practice of sewing up a man with fever in the skin of 
a lately killed sheep ; the effect of which is rapid, if the pro- 
cess be unpleasant. Cautery always appeals to them, as do 
all heroic measures, but it is curious that they have an 
insurmountable prejudice against using cold water in illness, 
or even washing cuts and sores ; so that wounds were often 
brought to be dressed in a perfectly revolting state due to 
their never having been washed. Perhaps the commonest of 
all complaints was the so-called Aleppo button, or date boil, 
an excrescence like a large wart appearing on different parts 
of the body, and very frequently on the face, which leaves 
a mark for life, and lasts in its unhealed state for about 
a year. Hence its native name of " Senawiyah " or year 
spot. It has been often described elsewhere, and is pecu- 
liar for the capricious way in which it prevails in some 
places and not in others, although only a mile or two apart. 
For instance, scarcely a child in Diarbekr Mardin is free 
from the scar, while in Mansuriyah, barely half a mile from 

* Cp. Burton's Pilgrimage, i. 884, for some interesting notes on diseases and 
their treatment among the Arabs ; where he says a good word for the practice of 
dieting, foolishly derided by some practitioners in the East ; also see i. 52 for an 
amnsing account of the medical whims of the East. 

Medicine. 127 

Mardin, it is unknown. Its cause is as yet unexplained^ 
and no remedy has so far been discovered for it. The 
American Doctor at Mardin has innoculated some cases^ but 
as yet without much result. The boil usually attacks every 
one in the place, natives generally suffering while quite 
young children.* 

Ophthalmia again is terribly common in the cities of the 
East, and due largely to the reckless way in which refuse is 
thrown in heaps about the streets, from which dust dried by 
the sun, and containing germs of every disease, is blown 
about by the slightest wind. In the plain, where there is less 
filth to spread disease, the complaint is more rare. However, it 
is not uncommon among the Moslems to court the loss of one 
eye, as this deformity brings exemption from military service. 
It is a good precaution in towns to wear glasses to protect 
the eyes from dust, and always to keep a stock of nitrate of 
silver, which forms the most valuable lotion. Nothing in my 
store of medicines was so much in demand as this ; for the 
natives have no specific for the malady, except that, when 
they feel the pain in their eyes, they yield to the inevitable, 
bind a cloth, generally not too clean, over their eyes and lie 
with their faces upon a pillow, until the disease has run its 
course, perhaps for a period of three weeks. 

But enough of medicine, and let us go to our midday siesta. 
When the sun is at its highest and the shadow on the north 
of my room not above a few inches broad, there is scarcely a 
sound to be heard in the Deir. The threshers and winnowers 
sleep under the booths, the shepherd has gathered his sheep 
into the shade of the almonds, or if the Hies be troublesome 
has come to our old walnut tree. Down below in the court- 
yard there may be a cat stirring, or one of the mares that 
finding everything so still has strayed from her stall behind 
the church. The monks have all retired to well-earned sleep, 
and in the diwan-khana may be heard the measured snore 
that tells that the Bishop is as blest as all the rest. Only old 
Yakob, the cook, does not sleep. He is busy among his jars 

* For a fuller aooonnt of the boil cp. Mrs. Bishop's Trayels in Persia, i. 39. 

128 Deir-el-Za' aferan. 

of " Semn "* and rice preparing for the midday meal, or 
boiling some fruit for me. He sees me watching him, and 
rushes up the stone steps, as usual, to kiss my hand, and 
pour out abuse upon some blackguard Arabs, who had taken 
advantage of the threshing time to come in and steal some 
corn ; '^ might their countenances become cold, the sons of 
strong odours/' I bade the old man be calm and mind his 
clarified butter in which the rice was simmering, but he would 
not hear of peace. " Aye, aye," he said ; '' if Sayyidna 
Batrik (our Lord Patriarch) were here, who would dare do 
such things ? they are all sons of vile mothers, mules they 
are," and he proceeded to vent^his wrath on the unofEending 
Sulaiman who stood smiling at his anger. 

I left the old man, and returned to read ; for being inclined 
to be lazy in the morning, I felt no desire to sleep during the 
day. An hour passed, I saw by my watch ; had I been 
sleeping too ? Anyhow the shadow outside my door had 
grown several inches, and the Bishop was crying out 
" Skander, Skander ya hu (0 he) ^' in accents of some anger, 
which augured ill for Skander, whom, a boy of fourteen, the 
Bishop generally addressed with a polite " Ya Abui " (O my 
Father). But Skander was fast asleep, and had all sorts of 
evil things said about him, before he brought fresh water 
from the well, and coflfee for the Bishop. Gradually the 
monastery awoke, and the threshing and winnowing began 
again, while I drank coflfee and smoked a quiet cigarette with 
the Bishop in the diwan-khana. 

There was a good deal to discuss with him about the two 
printing presses in the Deir. Daily it was expected that 
news would come from Constantinople renewing permission 
to work the presses. But no bakhshish had been forth- 
coming to elicit the permission, and a long delay was the 
consequence. For in this land the wheels of office require an 
inordinate amount of oil. Skander had been over to Mardin 
in the morning, to take the Patriarch his daily supply of 
grapes and figs, and was now minutely questioned on the 

• Clariaed butter. 


Deir-el'Za^aferan . 1 29 

news. This was an operation to be most warily performed. 
The Bishop knew, and Skander knew better, that he was a 
liar, as indeed are not a few of these " sons of a short 
shadow " (Southerners) ; he steered his course accordingly, 
setting traps to catch an answer by implication, rather than 
asking the question direct. To show a zeal for information is 
the surest way to be deceived, and it is extraordinary how 
much ingenuity an astute person like the Bishop could show 
in conducting his inquiries. 

It appeared that news had come from Constantinople, and 
that the Patriarch was so pleased that he contemplated a 
visit to the Deir the following day in order to set the press to 
work, and see if fresh air would benefit his health, that had 
been so failing all the year. 

It was rumoured, too, that one of the Papal Syrian Bishops, 
who was acting as head of that community since the death of 
their Patriarch, was travelling in state from the capital, and 
would stop some days at Mardin. We little thought at this 
time what this visit would bring forth. The rest of the day 
had to be spent in preparing for the Patriarch, and putting 
the presses into such order as should meet his Holiness' 
approval. So, leaving the Bishop to superintend these 
preparations, I retired to my room to wait until it was cool 
enough to take my accustomed walk, and try for the 
twentieth time to shoot a red-legged partridge with my small 
revolver. Returning from this sport with a somewhat empty 
bag, I heard the dhurch bells ringing for evening prayer ; I 
found the great gateway blocked with sheep and cattle, being 
driven in for refuge during the night. In the courtyard was 
a crowd of monks and others waiting for the Bishop to begin 
service. Service over, the " Semandro,'' or wooden board, 
was beaten, and old Moksi* Yakob came out bringing plates 
of boiled wheat and rice for the evening meal. I retired to 
eat mine in my room, and watch from the roof the sun go 
down behind the hills towards Mardin. 

Then was the most glorious time of the whole Eastern day, 

* *' Makuddas," sanctified — one who has been to Jemsalem. 

130 Mutran Yunaa. 

a perfect calm and a wonderful glow, gradually giving way 
to the night ; and star after star came out, great moons they 
seemed in the clear air, and the fires, where the Arabs burned 
" Alkali '** on the plain, glistened far away, as the talking 
died away, and the inhabitants of the Deir spread out their 
mats to sleep under the clear warm sky. 

I left the upper roof, and joined the little group collected 
on the Bishop's bed on the '^ balakhana " above the cloisters. 
It was a huge erection of wood some ten feet square, which 
served as a pleasant lounge on the glorious evenings of the 
summer, when the rest of the Deir was going to sleep. 
There we would sit every evening after supper, and, with a 
great dish of grapes and slices of melon before us, talk 
and " drink " (as they say) cigarettes under the shadow of 
the Church. 

The last few days of my stay at the monastery were 
enlivened by an occurrence which deserves narration, because 
it illustrates so well the intrigue that has such an important 
influence upon the relations between the various subjects of 
the Sublime Porte. 

Complaints have been made for many years by the members 
of the Old Syrian Church against the appropriation of either 
the whole or a part of their churches by the Papal Syrian 
community, which, whatever its merits, cannot be considered 
but in the light of a schismatic body, and therefore with no 
right to the property which belongs to the Church from which 
its members have seceded. 

In one Turkish town, the Papal party had so gained 
political ascendancy, owing to powerful influence at Con- 
stantinople and locally, as to have obtained possession of 
the most important church in the place. It had been largely 
a matter of money ; and the Papal Syrians, being the richer, 
had sustained the drain of bakhshish, which official integrity 
required. In order to defend the rights of the Old Church, 
Mutran Yunas, Bishop of the town, had been sent to 
Constantinople to use all the influence he could command by 

t More properly spelt " El-QiU." 

Mutran Ynnas. 131 

personality and gold. But the Patriarch finding that money, 
which was not plentiful, was being spent in vain, determined 
to give up his claim, and direct his energies towards collect- 
ing money to build a new church. A. site was soon offered 
by a native of the town, and sufficient money collected from 
the whole people to commence building. 

When, however, the necessary money was collected, news 
suddenly came from the capital that Mutran Yunas had 
at last found a man, who undertook for a certain sum to 
obtain from the Government the restoration of the church to 
its former owners; in consequence of which the Patriarch 
prepared to send the money required, and return the rest to 
those who had subscribed for the building of the new 
church. But, as chance would have it, while he was counting 
out the gold, who should come in but one of the Papal 
Syrian clergy, and ask the purpose of all this money ? To 
which question his Holiness, whether deserted by his usual 
tact, or forgetful of possible results, told the whole story. 
It may be imagined that the latter lost little time in 
returning to his house, and sending off to Constantinople a 
telegram to inform the Government that one of its sub- 
ordinates was being tampered with by a vile and treasonable 
Jacobite Bishop. 

Now, in every matter great and small, from the gift of a 
bowl of milk in the mountains to the conduct of a high 
judicial suit, bakhshish is a universally recognised requisite. 
But don't say so. Everyone knows it, but let it be publicly 
proclaimed, and from that moment " instat crimen."* 

So it was with Mutran Yunas, who employed the only 
recognised means of procuring an award in his favour, and 
everyone knew the fact. Positive and public accusation 
was made, and the Bishop was condemned, disgraced, and 
banished from the capital, while the award went by default. 
Intrigue is a hydra, and the Bishop seemed pursued by fate. 

* Mrs. Bishop's words (" Travels in Persia," ii. 257) might be applied with 
scarcely a change to the state of affairs in Turkey. Well may she ask, " Who is 
to cleanse the Angean stable ?" 

K 2 

132 Mntran Ynnas. 

At the same time with his fall, came a letter to the Patriarch 
from a secret enemy of the Bishop, making vile and false 
accusation of plots against His Holiness, and of money spent 
on luxury and fine living in the capital. 

This the Patriarch weakly credited, being by nature ready 
to believe things good and bad, and mortified by the failure 
which his own imprudence had partly caused. But for the 
Bishop it came as a terrible disgrace, that he, the most trusted 
of all the Bishops, should be degraded at the mere word of 
an enemy. But all entreaties to be granted a hearing were 
in vain; the Patriarch had made up his mind that the accusa- 
tion was true, and nothing, not even twenty years of faithful 
allegiance, could prevail to alter his mind. Mutran Yunas 
was recalled, and ordered to remain in confinement in Deir- 
el-Za'aferan until the Government was pleased to let him 
go free. 

It was perhaps little to be wondered at that the Bishop's 
indignation led him to speak unwise words in the towns 
through which he passed, inveighing against a Patriarch who 
had treated his servant so ill. But this came also to the 
Patriarch's ears, and made him only less inclined to relent. 
The effect on the condition of the people was disastrous, the 
Bishop's town being divided into two hostile camps, and the 
whole community was embittered by a quarrel, which 
external foes were doing their best to foster. 

Three years had parsed since Mutran Tunas' return, and no 
signs appeared of relenting on the Patriarch's part. The 
Bishop lived, or "sat" (as they say) in the Deir, with no 
occupation, and no honour, scarcely allowed to leave the 
walls, and treated merely as a monk. 

Later on he was allowed to exchange the Deir for the house 
of one of the priests in Mardin. As time went by his spirit 
chafed against the imprisonment, and thoughts occurred to 
him of joining the Greek or Roman communion. It was in 
this frame of mind that I found him, and had all that I could 
do to persuade him to cultivate patience, and wait until a 
way of escape was opened to him. 

This opportunity occurred in a most unexpected way. 

A Papal Syrian Bishop, 133 

Mardin was in a flutter owing to the arrival of the Papal 
Syrian Bishop, of whom mention has been already made. He 
came with a large "nishan'^ or decoration from the Sultan, 
to greet which symbol of supremacy all Mardin trooped out 
on donkeys and horses on the day of his arrival. He was 
moreover a rich man^ and the head of a rich community, so 
that he travelled with all the state consistent with his office. 
I, hearing that he had visited England, went with the rest of 
the world to call upon the dignitary, whom I found magnifi- 
cently established in the Papal Syrian " Patrik-khana," or 
Patriarch's house, in the centre of Mardin. 

'^ Qawwases,'' gorgeous in red and gold, and wearing silver- 
mounted swords and daggers, patrolled the courtyard, and 
did the work of special messengers to the Bishop. Knots of 
priests and monks stood about the doors, or went in and out 
of the room where his Lordship sat to receive visitors, sur- 
rounded by all that money and a not very numerous following 
could afford to impress that most impressible of living 
souls, the Syrian. In Mardin, however, the homage was 
paid less to the man himself, than to the Order of which he 
was the favoured bearer. 

In the library, used as a diwan, sat the Bishop, attended 
by his brethren of Mardin and Diarbekr, but rose, as I 
entered, with all the courtesy and grace of a polished Oriental, 
and greeted me in English, which he spoke with ease. I gave 
" Peace " to the rest of the company, and received in return 
"A thousand Peaces upon my head,'' and then began the 
serious business of a visit, sitting with my hands upon my 
knees, like an errand boy waiting in an office, until coffee and 
cigarettes arrived. The Bishop talked affably of London, 
Paris, and Rome, considering, doubtless in view of his visitor, 
London to be far tke most wonderful and beautiful ; '* so 
rich," he orientally remarked. S. Peter's he had seen and 
the Pope, the Louvre he had visited, but nothing was like 
London and London Bridge. There was but one man in 
England who impressed him, Lord Salisbury, and in Italy the 
Pope ; these two seemed to him to rule the world — one the 
land, and the other the sea. There was one place, too, which. 

134 An Intrigue. 

being a literary man, lie admired more than any other, and 
that was the library and reading room of the British Museum; 
never had he seen so many slaves so perfectly trained to 
serve so few masters. Truly we English were the "sons of 
orderliness.'^ He then spoke in general terms of the progress 
made by Christianity in the Bast, and the gradual loosening 
of the bonds under which it had so long laboured, and chief 
of all the growing acknowledgment secured to the Holy 
Father from a nation little inclined by faith or birth to 
admire such a personality. 

A pleasant half hour soon came to an end, and as the bell 
sounded for evening prayer I started to ride back to the Deir, 
thinking that I had been talking to a man who, if things 
were as they should be, ought to have been born an English 
duke or made an Italian cardinal. 

There had been one man present, who showed no slight 

impatience at my visit, I had witnessed some of the intrigues 

that formed his chief occupation, and he took much pains in 

my presence to deliver a circumstantial account of one of 

these, casting imputations on members of the Old Church, and 

letting me know that my interference would cost someone 

dear. This man bowed me out with a frigid politeness that 

scarcely disguised his dislike, and I felt the air clearer away 
from his presence. 

Some days afterwards, when the Patriarch had established 
himself at Deir el Za'aferan, and I was spending a few days 
in Mardin, I went to see Mutran Yunas, who had scarcely 
uttered his words of cordial welcome, when he poured out an 
account of the perplexity, into which an offer from the Papal 
Bishops had thrown him. He had been to call on the latter, 
and received a visit in return, in the course of which a pro- 
posal had been made in the most flattering terms that he 
should join the Papal communion, and exchange his present 
humiliating condition for freedom and high position with 
them. The temptation to accept was the stronger, as an 
order had just come from Constantinople, authorising the 
Patriarch to use strong measures, if necessary, to restrain the 
Bishop, even by the aid of zaptiehs, in the monastery. This 

An Intrigue, 135 

seemed almost more than he could bear ; for^ though an able 
and good Bishop^ he was one of the haughtiest of men, and 
unutterably galled by the news. Hence, when the chance of 
escape came supported by offers of high place, although 
among men whom he had formerly counted his bitterest 
enemies, his mind was strongly shaken, and he requested 
three days to consider his answer. 

It was on the second day that I visited him, and listened 
to his heartrending appeal for help and advice in this most 
difficult experience. Ue had seen no one else to whom he 
dared confide his trouble, and I now felt the advantage I had 
gained by making a friend of him before, I appealed to him 
by all he held sacred — his religion, his Saviour, even by his 
honour and ambition ; I spoke of the fourteen years 
wanderings of Athanasius, the patience of Gregory, the 
sufferings of the Saints of his own Church, and finally of 
S. Paul, until in despair he cried out that he knew not what to 
do. He had served his God, his Church, and his spiritual 
Father; and after fifteen years of faithful service he was 
turned away at the light word of an enemy, and condemned 
unheard. I reminded him of the Patriarch^s age, and that it 
was not entirely his hardness, but the intrigues of designing 
men, that had worked the evil. No, he said, he hates me ; 
even if the people cared the very least, he might have hope ; 
but they cared for nothing, but sat at home, afraid to oppose 
the Patriarch's will for fear they should call down a curse 
upon their families. The old man might live for years and 
not relent, for he took long to change his mind, while the 
Bishop sat wasting away a valuable life in wretched idle- 
ness. He had waited long and patiently, and now he was 
weary of the heavy hand of his father, and would free 

It was sad to see the great strong man bowed down by 
trouble, and watch the agony of his face, as he fought with 
the temptation ; sadder still it was to note how ambition 
weighed in his mind. In the great perplexity I begged him 
consider how he could possibly join those with whom he 
never had nor ever could agree, and to ask the help of a 

136 An Intrigue, 

greater Father than he whom he thought was dealing so 
unjustly with hira. Finally I left him, having obtained a 
promise that he would not make his decision until I saw 
him again. 

There was now but one thing to do,, with clearly no time to 
lose ; so off 1 went with Fakob, who had accompanied me, to 
take council with some trusted friends at the Church of the 
Arbain. Abu Selim, the man we needed most, was not at 
home, and an hour was wasted in looking for him. Then the 
whole story was gone over, and the best means of awakening 
the people discussed. It was plain that the one thing to do 
was to induce them to besiege the Patriarch in sufficient 
numbers to extort his forgiveness of the Bishop. This was a 
matter of some difficulty, for the people, or rather the wives, 
were in mortal fear of a possible curse, in spite of the ocular 
proof afforded by a late Mutserraf of Mardin, whom his 
Holiness had \^sited with the direct wrath of his curse, but 
who yet lived to enjoy prosperity, and return again to rule the 
city of Mardin. 

The contemplation of the fatal results to the Syrian people 
of the secession of so important a Bishop persuaded our ally 
that a great effort must be made, and he determined to start 
that evening on a round of visits to the principal Syrians of 
the town. Only he feared the people's jealous nature, which 
scarcelv ever allowed them, even where their interests 
pointed most clearly in the same direction, to pursue a 
harmonious course. However, he was destined to be rewarded 
for his pains beyond all expectation. 

Selim, despairing of the people in his own quarter of the 
town, went straight to the elders of the Church of Mar 
Shimuneh, whom he knew to be more kindly disposed to the 
Bishop than the Patriarch. His visit was a success, and on 
the next morning, which was Sunday, the diwan was crowded, 
as soon as service was over, with men discussing the course to 
be pursued. The Arbain people chose as usual to abide by 
the event, not interfering in the matter. Sunday passed in 
the maturing of a plan, but I heard nothing more, until about 
midnight there came a great knocking at the iron gate of the 


Au Inti-igue. 187 

Arbain, and Qas Gibrail arrived with a messenger from 
Mar Shimuneh, to say that the people of that Church had 
determined on sending him to Deir-el-Za^aferan to say that^ 
unless the Patriarch allowed the Bishop to go to his own 
town, both he and they would join the Papal community. 
The messenger brought a sealed letter, with a request that 
Qas Gibrail, being highest in favour with His Holiness, would 
undertake to deliver it at the monastery. After a hurried 
consultation the priest prepared to start, so that he might be 
ready to see the Patriarch as soon as he awoke, which he 
ordinarily did very early, and have an interview before the 
diwan was crowded. The Patriarch was furious when he 
heard the contents of the letter, asking what it mattered to 
him, whether these Papists intrigued with his Bishops ; he 
was Patriarch of Antioch, and would have nothing to do with 
such things ; let the Bishop and his friends go. But the 
people were aroused, and would not be satisfied by such an 
answer ; so the same day they trooped over some two hundred 
strong to besiege His Holiness, and obtain the Bishop's 
release. Yakob went with them to report on all that 
happened, while I carefully avoided any interference. The 
Patriarch took little care to conceal his wrath, and threatened 
wholesale excommunication. But finding this of no avail, and 
the people announcing that it was their intention to sleep in 
the diwan if he would not relent before night, the Patriarch 
after an eight hours' siege gave way so far as to promise to 
see Mutran Yunas the following day. 

On the morrow there accordingly marched over to the 
Deir such a procession on horses, mules, donkeys, and bare 
feet as that road had not seen since the day when the 
Patriarch was invested twenty years before. The people of 
Mardin were at a loss to guess the meaning of this immense 
escort for a disgraced Bishop, and doubtless thought the 
Syrians had gone mad. Arrived at the Deir, they all repaired 
to the diwan, and the Bishop falling on his knees kissed the 
hands and feet of the old man, imploring forgiveness. Five 
hours passed before the latter gave way, and then a formal 
reconciliation was made, and a promise given that the Bishop 

138 Deir-el-Za'tiferan, 

should be allowed to return to his diocese, provided he was 
content to live for some time to come in a monastery and not 
in the town. 

A triumphal procession conducted the Bishop back to 
Mardin, with wild gallopings of delighted horsemen, and 
promiscuous firing of guns into the air to display the bound- 
less joy of the people, that so grievous a quarrel had been 
healed. As they drew near Mardin others came out to 
meet them, and it seemed as though the whole place was 
making holiday, and for once in a way a genuine holiday not 
ordained by Grovernment. They escorted the Bishop to the 
Church of Mar Shimuneh, and there left him to take up his 
quarters with some of the dignity befitting his position, of 
which he had been so long deprived. The only people who 
seemed discouraged were the Papal Syrians and the Arbain 
elders, who had shown themselves so cowardly all through the 
affair. Chief among the crowd that day was old Abu-Selim, 
the author of the reconciliation, and it did one good to see his 
kind face beaming with honest pleasure at the success he had 
achieved, as he came into my diwan with Yakob to recount 
the events of the day, and ready to kiss everyone he met for 
joy. The following day was to be occupied by a council at 
the Deir, to which I was invited, and at which it was hoped 
some final arrangement would be made with regard to the 

A few days later Yakob and I went again to the Deir to see 
the Patriarch. We found a large company there, including 
Mutran Yunas, who was negotiating with His Holiness for 
the composition of a letter requesting from the Government 
his freedom. We were most cordially received by the 
Patriarch, who showed us, with almost childish delight, a 
small silver bowl, which the Bishop had given him as a peace 
offering. But he was still loth to grant a full pardon, being 
inclined to throw back the responsibility for the Bishop's 
imprisonment upon the Government, who had in the first 
place ordered it. In fact it was to be some months before 
the affair was finally settled. It was S. Michael's day, and a 
holiday, which brought great numbers of people to the 

Deir-el-Za' aferan. 139 

monastery, including Abu-Selim. It being, moreover, very 
hot, it was proposed that, as soon as the sun should be less 
scorching, we should all make our way up to the little 
monastery of the Virgin, called " Deir-el-Seyyideh,'' and 
" make keif " in honour of the reconciliation. 

We started, a motley crew, the Bishop, Abu-Selim, myself, 
and a collection, such as the Deir and the day could provide, 
of Rahabs, boys and men from town and village, to climb the 
rocky path to the cave at the top of the mountain. The 
excitement among the boys was intense, and not a little 
dangerous to our no less excitable horses, who caught the 
spirit of the occasion, and nearly upset half of us down the 
rocks. However, we reached the cave in safety, and 
collected under a great spreading mulberry tree just by the 
fountain. This was a large basin cut out of the rock, and 
kept full by the continual dripping from the roof of the cave. 
The water was cold as ice, and supplied, to a large extent, 
the deep well within the monastery. Round this basin we sat 
to enjoy the cool air, and the delicious sound of dripping 
water, as we discussed the events of the last few days, and I 
expressed a hope that the Bishop would soon be on his way 
home. " Insh Allah ! Insh Allah ! " (please God) was echoed 
twenty times, for I, with western profanity, had forgotten 
this necessary part of speech ; and Abu-Selim went on 
quietly repeating the words to himself, as he cut up 
lettuces, leeks, and capsicum peppers, and squeezed sour 
pomegranates to make a salad for our enjoyment. This he 
handed round in spoonfuls, talking all the while to himself, 
and then burst out in his dear cracked old voice into the 
Syrian songs he thought I loved to hear as much as he to 
sing them, until he was overtaken by an uncontrollable fit of 
coughing, and handed on the song to someone else; he could 
not bear to let it stop, " the ' Hawajah ' (myself) liked them 
so, peace be upon his head, and the mercy of the Lord." 
And yet I would give much to hear his kind old voice, and 
see his good face again ; for he, more than anyone in Mardin, 
made life pleasant ; but I shoald like to see him away from 
the jealousies and petty intrigues that forced a barrier of 

140 Deir-eUZa'aferan, 

reserve between every friendship. There was a feeling of 
relief in this company that made this day and those that 
followed some of the pleasantest spent at the monastery, and 
made me look back from the plain as I rode towards Aleppo 
with feelings of heartfelt regret. 

Mansuriyak, 141 


Two Syrian Villaqks. 

" On my word, a notable yonng baggage !** 

Sir Books db Coverlet. 

There are a few villages inhabited chiefly by Syrians, which 
lie in the immediate neighbourhood of Mardin, and apart 
from the large groups scattered through Jebel Tur. Of 
these, two — Goliyah and Mansuriyah — deserve some de- 

Mansuriyah is a small village on the north side of the hill 
among the gardens, about half a mile from Mardin, which I 
visited one day accompanied by Khuri Ibrahim, and a small 
train of those people who in the East always attach to any 
expedition, however small and unexciting. We arrived early 
in the morning, and found every roof covered with women 
weaving, or men carding the brilliant maroon cotton or wool. 
It is a general characteristic of these villages that one may 
walk from one end to another upon the roofs, to which the 
whole population flocks, and stands in groups of most pictu- 
resque form and colouring immediately that a stranger is 
espied. It is there things are "preached or proclaimed.^'* "In 
the time of persecution a man might run along the house tops 
to the outskirts of the village, without waiting to go down into 
his own house. "t Many were still green with the grass, that 
"withereth afore it cometh up.^'f "In the summer everyone 

* S. Matthew, x. 27 ; S. Luke, xii. 3. 

t S. Matthew, xxiy. 17 ; Maclean and Browne, p. 54. 

X Psalms, cxziz. 6. 

1 42 Feuds, 

sleeps on the roofs, which are approached by an inside stair- 
case or by an outside ladder. . . . These roofs are made 
curiously. The timbers are first firmly fixed into the walls, 
and covered by transverse laths, and then ag^in by mats. 
On the mats is placed a layer of hay, and on the hay a great 
quantity of earth; the whole is then plastered down with a 
composition of mud and chopped straw. The roof is made to 
slant very slightly, so that the water may run off, and spouts 
are placed at intervals for the purpose." Great is the rolling 
of roofs as soon as the first November rains come ; for the 
long drought has made them crack, and the breaches 
must be repaired, and all hardened down to resist the winter 

Something has been already said of the frequency of small 
feuds in the Syrian villages. This is no doubt due largely to 
want of education; but it is a very distressing element, 
especially in village life, and has done much to make more 
easy a good deal of the oppression, of which in many places 
the Christians complain. Not infrequently the Christians are 
involved in the quarrels of their Kurdish masters, and it 
becomes impossible for a man to cross a certain line of 
country, because the Agha or chief of his district is at feud 
with the Agha of the villages beyond, although the Chris- 
tians of the two districts are on perfectly good terms with 
each other. But to the rule of internal quarrelsomeness 
Mansuriyah was no exception. Two children had been 
betrothed in early life and the time had arrived when they 
should have been married. Early marriage is very common 
in the villages, the boys of fourteen sometimes marrying girls 
of twelve. But as a rule the husband is older, although at 
Midhiat it is not uncommon for a woman of twenty-five to 
take a boy of fourteen, and treat him as her special charge, 
rather than as husband. Betrothal is a very ceremonious 
affair, and almost as binding as marriage itself ; nor can boy 
or girl earn greater disgrace than by deserting the mate that 
has been chosen for him, and seeking another; while an 
account of the whole ceremony, with the amount of dowries, 
is most carefully written down, and sealed by impartial 

Marnage Customs. 143 

witnesses. When a man seeks a wife there is no question of 
wooing her, but only of obtaining her from her father, and 
settling the terms of the bargain, generally through a third 
person of some position. So Jacob asked for Rachel, and 
Shechem for Dinah.* Hence conjugal life has as a rule little 
of what we understand to be its real meaning, nor does the 
wife stand in any higher position than as a good housekeeper, 
the fruit of a careful bargain. 

In the " Catholicos of the Bast ''t a charming illustration is 
drawn from modern customs of the twenty-fourth chapter of 
Genesis, the whole of which describes an episode that may 
often be seen at the present time in the East, and expressed 
in the beautiful language still to be heard. So true it is that 
every day spent in the East presents a fresh picture of some 
Bible story. 

The boy and girl at Mansuriyah had been engaged for 
seven years, and they were now twenty and fourteen years 
old respectively, and in accordance with Syrian custom were 
to be married. But, unfortunately, a handsome youth from 
the village of Benabil had met the damsel, and, as will 
happen even in this land of buying and selling in marriage, 
she had run away and married him. As usual, the village 
took sides, the girl's people heading one faction which was 
contented with the outcome of the elopement, and the 
aggrieved boy's people the other, claiming not only the money 
originally paid by the boy, but the divorce of the girl, and 
compensation in good Turkish gold for the scandal; for 
scandal it was of a most grievous kind, and only thus to be 
wiped out. The quarrel was taken to the Patriarch's diwan, 
where it languished for months, varied only by skirmishes in 
the courtyard, when the rival parties arrived the same day to 
urge their claims. The Patriarch had delivered his verdict in 
favour of the bride, who had obtained her parents' consent 
for the new match ; but had balanced justice by ordering her 

* Oen. xxix., Gen. izxiv. 4. 

t " The Catholicos of the East and his People." By A. J. Maclean and 
W. H. Browne. 

144 Marriage Oiuttoms. 

family to pay a fine to that of the aggrieved bridegroom. 
However, the parties were not satisfied, and insisted on going 
also to the local secretary for civil affairs, a man friendly with 
His Holiness and determined to abide by his decision. There 
seemed no prospect of adjusting the quarrel for months, nor 
did there seem much inclination among the people to put an 
end to so diverting an episode; and in time a disturbance in 
the Patriarchal court gained the synonym of a "Mansureti 
business.^' Under these circumstances there could be no pro- 
gressing with the village school, for which it was found hard 
enough under the most favourable circumstances to raise the 
six pounds needful for the teacher^s salary. So the school 
was closed, and the funds applied to the maintenance of the 

The two factions, who united for once in glorious emulation 
to do me honour, seemed to have discordant notions as to the 
number of the boys who had been in the school, some saying 
twenty, others a hundred ; and the schoolroom, which would 
have held fifty boys at the most, nearly became the scene of 
a fearful strife over this question. As I left the room I heard 
an old man of the " bride faction '* furiously contending that 
at least a hundred boys had sat there at the feet of his 
honourable nephew, the teacher, a sickly youth, who looked 
upon the quarrel with anything but equanimity. 

The people, when not engaged in the question of marriage 
and the school, were rational and entertained me hospitably, 
although they were ready at a moment's notice to flare up ; 
but inflammability is a feature of most of these mountain 
people, and tact as well as wit is required in dealing with 
them. In matters, however, of large import, many years' 
subjection has seemed to infuse into them something of the 
" Kismat " of Mohammedans. 

After sitting some time in a new and spacious diwan built 
by the head man of the Christians, and having been sufliciently 
regaled with bad coffee and cigarettes, while a group of boys 
and women gathered below the partition by the door to stare 
at us, Khuri Ibrahim proposed a visit to the two churches — 
most interesting rock chambers of early date. Such build- 

Rock Churches of Manauriyah, 145 

ings are not uncommon in the neighbourhood, the rocks above 
Deir-el-Za'aferan being honeycombed with them, but here was 
the largest I had seen. The church was, as might be 
expected, very dark, being cut from the living rock, and 
built up at the south-west comer with stones. In accordance 
with the usual custom, the door was low and small, and as on 
it the church, being without windows, depended for its light, 
the darkness grew as we approached the altar, before which 
burned a dim light, scarcely suflScing to show the way. The 
building consisted of two naves, each with a sanctuary at the 
east end, the larger nave containing, as often in the viHages, 
a good store of grain, kept there for safety^s sake. On the 
south side of the south altar was a low arch leading into a 
small rock-hewn baptistery, where I was 8ho>vn a large font 
built into the wall and a smaller vessel, of the well-known 
and precious blue Persian pottery, containing oil. 

The second church was smaller, but of much finer 
workmanship, pillars, screen, and altar being carved with 
great accuracy from the living rock. At the side were 
several chambers, apparently for the use of a priest, and in 
the centre of one of them a well full of clear water, forming a 
dangerous trap for the unwary. 

As I was leaving the village one of the chief men came 
up, and said in a gratuitous way that Mansuriyah was a place 
on no account to be despised in the matter of antiquities. Had 
they not the Persian vessel in the church, and was there 
not in his hand the most beautiful inkstand in Turkey? I 
admired the treasure, and certainly it was beautiful. Was it 
for sale ? Yes, a rich Moslem had offered two liras for it ; 
but how could a Syrian sell to a Moslem the work of a pious 
monk some hundred years ago ? But for all that the inkstand 
was mine, and anything else I wished. This seemed well 
enough so far, but was merely the artful beginning of a 
bargain. I knew it would be impolitic to accept the inkstand, 
.or offer a price at that moment; so I refused politely, and 
waited until its owner should come among one of the 
contending parties to the diwan. Before many days were 
past he came, and was interrogated by Yakob as to the price 


1 M\ Bargaining . 

of tlie inkstand. I was Christian, and might have it for a 
lira and a half. Yakob offered twenty piastres, one seventh 
the amount, and the matter was closed for some days. The 
next visit brought some fifty piastres diminution ; and at the 
fourth visit the price had dwindled to forty piastres, about 
seven shillings, for which I procured it ; and it was a good 
bargain. The original Moslem buyer had either died, or was 
a myth. 

This is but one example of an Eastern bargain. Many men 
spend half their time in the pursuit, several hours always 
being consumed in the purchase of any but the most ordinary 
necessaries of life; but, as I was purchasing a good many 
antiquities, I adopted the plan of offering one-tenth of the 
amount asked, and waiting until the seller came to terms. It 
saved a great deal of time, although I had a large number of 
visits from dealers in all things, and a morning seldom passed, 
but several of these people spent a few hours sitting at my 
door, watching if I should relent, and rise in my price. I had 
in this way the interest of keeping at times half a dozen 
bargains on my books, few of which were completed in less 
than three weeks. Another secret of success w^as that I never 
conducted the bargaining myself, but alw^ays did it through 
Yakob, a perfect and most honest adept in the art. 

My purchase of the inkstand was, of course, irregular, and 
more after the manner of Da\nd's purchase of Araunah's 
threshing floor *. It is imperative in good manners to say to 
a possible buyer that one's house, and all things in it are his 
and his children's ; but for all that a good price is expected, 
and real business begins only when a price is offered. 

It is, moreover, characteristic of these people to avoid a 
straight manner of dealing, if possible, and of this the 
following negotiation is a good example. Bulos the katirji, 
or muleteer, who conveyed me from Aleppo to Mardin, was, 
like many of his brethren an "unco crooked mon.'* He 

* 2 Samnel xxir. 22, cp. Qen. zxiii. 15. *' And Ephron answered Abraham, 
Baying unto him, My Lord, hearken onto me ; the land is worth four hundred 
Bhekelfl of silyer P What is that between me and thee ? ** ■ 

Native Expedients, 147 

drove a thriving trade with a dozen beasts or more, donkeys, 
mules, and horses, and kept a man to tend them. Now, it 
chanced that he and his man fell out, and Bulos determined 
to get rid of him ; but, it being impossible for him to 
tell his servant plainly what he wished to do, he devised 
instead a subtle plan. A lady of Mardin had lately bought 
from him a fine white donkey of the Mosul breed, and 
promptly paid the purchase money. Calculating from this 
unusual occurrence that money was plentiful in that quarter, 
he went again to the lady with a proposal that she should go 
through the form of buying the rest of his animals, and 
receive a pretended receipt for them, undertaking their care 
until he should return for them. This proposal being met 
with lofty scorn, he went to some friends of his own, who with 
greater knowledge of the Turkish world, and an eye to their 
own advantage, closed with the bargain, and soon had a 
handsome receipt in hand, and twelve good beasts in their 
stables. Congratulating himself on his cunning, the muleteer 
went to his servant, and said, " Father, where are my horses ? 
Have I not sold them ? What further need, then, for thy 
service ? God is beneficent ; He will then reward thee ; here are 
thy piastres.' ' "Aiwa; but this is a scurvy trick, thou cut-off 
one ! " replied the man, and struck his master on the nose. 
" Nay, but thou shalt eat wood (get a thrashing), thou father of 
contumacy,' ' said Bulos, and being a monstrous body, laid 
him low and threatened revelations of past enormities to the 
Government if the churl did not cease complaining and praise 
Allah for his mercies. So the men parted, uttering fearful 
things about each other's relatives, especially the female ones, 
and avoided each other for several days to come. 

Bulos now went to his friends, and asked for his animals ; 
but never a hair of them could he see. " You sold them to 
us, and is not this the deed of sale ? " they said. " Aiwa, 
Aiwa ; but you never paid, you foxes ! " " Who told you 
that, and who will go bail for you f " The man then thought 
ruefully how, in his anxiety to avoid notice, he had obtained 
no witnesses, and could therefore do nothing, when politely 
but firmly informed that " the river flows to-day and flows to- 

L 2 

148 Ooliyak. 

morrow, for which praise be to Allah/' So the poor man lost 
his animals, all to dismiss his servant, which proves that he 
was an " unco crooked mon." His friends kept the horses 
all the spring and through the summer, until food became 
scarce and traffic small ; then they returned them, with the 
receipt, to the rightful owner, who, with little work, and 
much food to pay for, had to keep them until the following 

Goliyah, another important village, inhabited solely by 
Syrians, forms a conspicuous object as one looks over the 
plain from Mardin. It lies about six miles to the south, and 
by it is a large pond, from which it takes its name, and where, 
toward evening, gather crowds of children to bathe, or water 
goats and cattle. A pretty scene it is, with the long grey 
shadows thrown over the water, and the bright dresses of 
women and children ; the prettier, too, for the abundance of 
water, which adds a feeling of refreshment and content as 
one looks across the thirsty land. 

It was a glorious day in June when we started, Mutran 
Elias, Yakob, and myself, to spend some hours at Goliyah, 
visiting on the way two villages, half ruined by the Kurds. 
We rode mules, for the horses of the monastery were down at 
grass, as is usual in the early summer, before the hay had 
been all dried up. Before we reached the lower ridges of the 
hills, the vineyards ceased, giving way to fields of grass, with 
barley, corn, and beans, thickly interspersed with brilliant 
clumps of balsams, hollyhocks, and anemones. From above 
these flowers gave a glorious brilliancy to the plain, great 
splashes of rich colour among the emerald crops. In a few 
places the villagers were beginning to cut the barley, but for 
the most part the harvest work had not begun, and they were 
sitting in groups upon the housetops, expecting the Bishop's 
visit. As we got nearer, the small children, who seemed to 
live in the water of the lake, dashed out to announce our 
arrival, and, doubtless warn the boys at school to be prepared 
for emergencies ; while others, more amply clad than the 
bathers, ran up, swarming round us to obtain possession of 
the Bishop's hand, which, for the next half hour was the 

A Village School 149 

object of ceaseless kissing. It was not often that they had 
such a visits and it was made a great occasion^ and great 
things were preparing to regale us. Within the limits of the 
houses were groups of men spreading mud bricks to dry, or 
piling up the cakes of animal refuse,* which are used so 
largely both for building and for fuel, while under the guard 
of great shaggy dogs were women spinning in the courtyard 
shade, and others sifting last yearns wheat. 

A large number of men had descended from the roof to 
receive the Bishop, outside the courtyard of the church, and 
ha\4ng all duly kissed his hand, and received his " Peace,'' 
they conducted us into a large room, where we found a young 
man engaged in teaching some dozen small boys the rudi- 
ments of Arabic grammar. The village priest, who was 
seated on an impromptu diwan, uttered a number of elegant 
speeches, and asked if we should care to hear the powers of 
his school. ^' For," he said, ^^ though they say the Mardin boys 
read (i.e., learn) well, yet our boys read as much in one day 
as they do in three." There were some sharp-looking boys in 
the class, which had dwindled to a dozen for the summer 
months, but in the winter numbered about sixty. With a 
good teacher — for I imagined the existing man, with his 
pittance of five liras a year, to be both ignorant and incapable 
— much might be done with the boys. The priest was a most 
intelligent man, and spoke in the beautiful way these Syrians 
so often do of the lack of water in this country, and how the 
people thirsted, too, for a better water — the water of life, 
which the clergy were too ignorant to give them. " For what 
clergy are we, men with neither education nor the power of 
the Spirit, that should be the basis of our ordination ? " He 
was, however, a man with a good deal of education of a 
certain kind, and much oppressed with the feeling of his 
people's destitution in matters spiritual. From among a large 

* In places where wood is soaroe this is the rejifalar material for fires, and it 
is maoh yalaed. It f^ves a good heat for a short time, but has the disadvantage 
of filling a room with smoke. Every village is, through the summer, supplied 
with a large store of these cakes for winter use. 

Cp. Maclean and Browne, 87, who compare Ezekiel iv. 12-15. 

150 A Village School. 

store of ancient liturgies and service books, a few of which 
were on parchment, he showed us two with immense pride and 
reverence ; one,* a " Book of the Gospels,^' contained in 
the preface, or " History," as it is called, an account of the 
village when it was a flourishing place, able to resist the Arab 
inroads, and containing good schools and foui*teen clergy. 
Among the other books were the Order of marriage, baptism, 
and ordination, a few on parchment, but the majority modern 
and on paper. These were all contained in a large box in 
the church, and preserved chiefly by the dust in which 
they slept. In the village were three churches, the one 
already mentioned, a fine modern building, built about 
150 years ago, but, as a precaution against the Arabs, 
poorly supplied with windows. The second church was 
some way oflE from the village, aud little used, while the 
third was a ruiu. 

It was now time to accept an elaborate invitation from the 
head of the village to " eat bread "t in his new diwan — a 
pleasant room on the roof of his house, overlooking the lake. 
Here were collected a number of the principal men to enter- 
tain us, and just outside the door elaborate preparations for a 
true desert meal were in progress. Very delicious it was, for 
cream there was in plenty, fresh that morning, the " kaimak " 
of the Arabs, with butter and honey, such as the Baptist ate ; 
butter, made from fresh milk, and not from cream alone, and 
spread upon a shallow dish and honey ])oured upon it. J 

* This book was part of the Great Syriao Bible called of Bar Hebrseus, con- 
taining the commentaries of Mar Efrem Syrns, and Mar Yakob (probably 
Jacobus BardoBus), a MS. on paper, in three colnmns, not dated. The second, 
another fuller copy of the same, written by the hand of Priest Ibrahim in the 
year 1904 of the Greek Era (==1593 A.O.). 

f '' Eating bread " is the regular expression for taking a meal. Cp. Gen. 
xviii. 5, where Abraham entertains the angels, and Judges xiii. 16. 

X Maclean and Browne think that by butter in the Bible, so often associated 
with honey, the "leben" or "yaurt" — that is, curdled milk — was intended. This 
delicious drink I never saw mixed with honey, nor would it improve such a sour 
dish. It is much more likely to be *' Zibd^," the Arab butter, nearly always eaten 
with honey or '* dibbis " (molasses), that is a sort of treacle made by boiling 
grapes. Cp. 2 Samuel xvii. 29, Job xx. 17, Isaiah vii. 15-22, where butter is a 

Gofee-ynakiny, 151 

Fresh cheese, too, there was, from the store they are so busy 
at this time in making for the winter use. It was agi*eeable 
enough, but when it dries it gets a stronger flavour, and is 
generally eaten with herbs. A man going on a journey will 
always take a bag of this goat's cheese with him, beside his 
dates, bread, almonds, and other relishes. 

The Bishop, Yakob, and myself were the only ones who took 
much account of the meal, although the priest, after much 
pressing, consented to sit with us. However, his part in the 
entertainment consisted mainly in rolling up attractive pieces 
of honey or omelette in pieces of the flat bread, and handing 
them to us to eat. This gift must never be refused, for it is a 
sign of love ; but it is not necessary to eat it. So it was that 
Joseph sent " messes unto his brethren from before him ; but 
Benjamin's mess was fiv^ times as much as any of theirs.'' 

After a glass of wine, brought out to-day as on a great 
occasion — for the Syrians, as is natural in a hot climate, drink 
very little wine — we performed the necessary ablutions, and 
the Bishop pronounced a long grace. Then came cigarettes, 
which youths had been preparing during our meal, and coffee 
of a very fine quality, more approaching true Arab coffee 
than any that I had before tasted. 

Now, as Goliyah was a village of the plain, it shared with 
the Arab tents an all-pervading sentiment of coffee. Here, 
therefore, the first thing we met on arrival, and the last thing 
before we went away, was coffee. Coffee is to the people of 
the plain (as for the inhabitants of towns, they do not know 
what coffee is) what tea is to English ladies, and lying to the 
Greeks ; in fact, it is their " craft," there being no other craft 
worth mentioning. A very solemn matter it is, especially for 
the tired guest, who enters the house or tent with parched 
lips, and altogether with a hollow feeling. But politeness 
and the exigencies of the " craft " demand patience. 

sign of plenty. Later in the year milk becomes too scarce to be used for butter 
but is all turned into '* leben," and either eaten in its thick state with spoons, or 
mixed with water and drunk. That butter was brought in (2 Sam. xvii. 29) to 
David and his people alone seems to show it was considered a delicacy, whereas 
" leben " is what everyone drinks. So, too. Judges v. 25, Oen. xviii. 8. 

162 Ooffee-makiny. 

From a niche in the wall a large mortar, round, and 
narrowed at the ba^se, is brought down ready to grind the 
coffee as soon as it is roasted. This is a matter of delicate 
skill, and is done in a metal pan held over a wood, or, better 
still, a charcocil fire ; but beware that the beans are not 
scorched or blackened, and see that their full richness is 
brought out, shaking them gently the while, and watching 
them as you love good coffee. When they begin to get lively 
and leap about, turn them into the mortar, and give them all 
you ever learned with the pestle. Slowly, aud with quite 
exquisite precision, would an experienced coffee-maker pound 
them to the required fineness, but not too fine. This 
ceremony is usually performed on the plain by the host ; for 
who else can be deemed really worthy of the calling of a 
coffee- pounder ? 

After the pounding comes the boiling in such a dirty little 
iron pot as you never beheld; three times must the coffee 
simmer to the boiling point, for it is cold water that is poured 
upon the grains, and three times sink again. At each boiling 
a grain of cinnamon, or perhaps of all-spice, is dropped in, and 
then the coffee is poured out of the dirty pot into still dirtier 
cups, and then your bliss is full, or, if not, do not say so, for 
you are among a people of coffee-drinkers. 

Sometimes in the villages, in the towns always, you will 
find a brazier of elegant, and often really beautiful workman- 
ship, where a small charcoal fire burns all day, with a pot for 
boiling and sugar for spoiling just by. But really good 
coffee you Avill not find, unless you are lucky, or the guest of 
the Syrian Patriarch, in the towns ; for there coffee is only 
five or ten minutes in the making, whereas on the plain a man 
gives his whole mind to it for half an hour or more ; and 
that half -hour you are likely to find very dull, especially if 
you are alone with your host. But that is not often the case, 
for coffee brewing has a magnetic influence, and everyone 
knows that, if he but arrives at the right moment he is sure 
of his cup ; and the better the cup, the surer he is ; for the 
nobler Arab has the nobler coffee. Without coffee, too, and 
the unfailing smoke, narjilah, shibuk, or cigarettes, no business 

Newly-enrolled Arab-Kurds, 153 

can ever be done, whether it be the purchase of a house, 
or the arrangements of a daughter's marriage. There is, 
too, this advantage in coffee-making, that its quality is so 
subtle, that much riches cannot buy it good, and, maybe, 
the best cup, excepting always the dirt, comes not from the 
Pasha in the town, but the keeper of goats and bullocks 
on the plain. 

While we were sipping thimblefuls of coffee, a great 
excitement arose among the children bathing in the lake 
below, and we saw, a mile away, a train of riders, with banners 
and spears, filing slowly toward the village. It was soon 
apparent who they were, the men of Ibrahim Pasha, chief of 
a half-breed tribe of Arab-Kurds, that lived by the village of 
Veransheher, and were encamped some distance to the south, 
taking advantage of the rich spring grass of the plain for 
their sheep and horses. A large number of these had just 
been enrolled as irregulars by the Mushir, who had not long 
since arrived in Mardin, and were returning under the 
command of their chief, lately invested with the title of 
Pasha, in virtue of his villainies, wealth, and capability of 
setting at naught the authority of the government. They 
were all newly armed with government rifles, and who knows 
what may be the outcome of this enrolment of wild and 
irresponsible bashi-bazuks. However, they formed a most 
picturesque company as they passed the lake, with their 
long spears, and scarlet banners, riding on fine Arab 
mares; and I was very glad of the opportunity of a good 

However, evening was coming on, and it was time to return 
to Mardin. After a short visit to the agent of the American 
Mission, an intelligent man, with a few adherents in the 
village and a small school, who gave an excellent example of 
simple Christian virtues, and more civilized neatness in his 
small school and library, we entered upon a long farewell, 
lengthened much by continued kissing of the Bishop's 
hand, until we were able to get quite away from the crowd 
of people, who accompanied us nearly half a mile from the 

154 Newly-enrolled Arab-Kurds, 

Just as we reached the town we met what seemed a perfect 
embodiment of a Greek Faun^ beautiful, with dark matted 
curls, and wearing nothing but a cloth round his waist, an 
unfortunate of a class only too common in the east, but of 
which it is one of the boasts of Islam to take especial care, as 
of children afflicted of God. 

A Kurdish Village. 155 



Indeed, the special marking of the man 
Is prone submission to the heavenly will. 

B. B. 

At a distance of about five hours' ride to the south-east of 
Mardin once stood under the western spurs of Jebel Tur the 
famous city of Dara, of which the massive ruins remain to 
this day. Of the power of the Sassanian kings and the 
Roman conquerors who fortified the place there are signs, 
not only here, but in numerous forts and castles, built about 
the plain and above the village of Qala'at-el-Mara, near 
Deir-el-Za'aferan, by the sons and daughters of the Persian 

Riding up to the Kurdish village built among the ruins, we 
passed over the fragments of the southern gates, by a great 
tower, crowned now by a stork's nest, which with its fallen 
companion once guarded the entrance. Past great masses of 
hewn rocks, the ruins of churches, baths, and palaces, we 
reached a grassy court, shaded by figs and walnut trees, and 
watered by two noisy, shallow streams, where pious Moslems 
were performing their prescribed ablutions. At one end of 
the court stood a school, and at the other the mosque and 
minaret, to which as guests of the Sheikh we had been 

There was a remarkable air of neatness and cool quietness 
about the place, especially within the mosque, the only one in 
interior Turkey that I was able to enter. The school upon 

156 A Kurdiith Villa ye. 

the other side of the lawn was fronted by a broad verandah, 
built of pillars and capitals evidently taken from the Roman 
ruins all around, and half overgrown with creepers and vines. 
Through the large latticed windows could be seen some 
twenty pupils of the learned Sheikh, reading and writing, 
while some talked, or looked out at us. There we had a small 
white-washed room assigned to us for as long as we should 
wish to stay; and there we rested until a message arrived 
from the Sheikh requesting that we should honour him by 
taking breakfast in his house. This we were only too ready 
to do, for the room in which we had spent the night at the 
village of Qasser, had been so -inhabited by creeping things 
innumerable, of all sizes and tastes, that Yakob had not slept 
for half an hour, so busy was he in the slaughter, and we 
had left early in the morning before having anything to eat. 
The messenger guided us to a house overlooking the village, 
and showed us into a room newly built, blazing in white 
plaster, and green painted, such as the Moslem loves, where 
sat the Sheikh, white turbanded and with long robes of rich 
green silk, reading some serious book of Moslem piety or law. 
Sheikh Mohammed Said we found to be a man of middle age 
and great solemnity. He had a curious Kurdish face, bronze 
coloured, with a fine nose, a broad, low forehead, and narrow 
eyes. His broad, straight mouth and full lips were half 
covered with a neatly trimmed beard of jet black ; and as we 
made a profound obeisance, he greeted us with the most 
charming Oriental courtesies, inquiring whence we came, and 
hoping we should stay many days with him. He spoke of 
Europe and of civilization; and sighed as he expressed a 
hope that some day his country might be blessed with a 
better administration, and a civilization wisely introduced, 
not as in Syria, where he heard that western influence had 
brought little good, but in the way that a true Islam and a 
true Christianity might join to bring it. He welcomed us for 
all the world as if we had been Mullas, and said (sincerely, 
too, as we afterwards learned) that by his interpretation of 
the Prophet\s law, he knew neither Jew, nor Christian, nor 
Moslem, but loved all in the spirit of the brotherhood he 


The Sheikh's Photograph. 157 

taught. It was only perhaps because I had not as yet ex- 
perienced this brotherly spirit in Islam, that I was at first 
inclined to smile. 

We had coffee and cigarettes, the latter of which he was 
too strict a Moslem to touch, and admired his beautiful and 
well-ordered village until breakfast arrived, and he left us to 
enjoy his hospitality of leben, eggs, and honey in the comb. 
After half an hour he returned, and said that he was sure we 
should wish to see the antiquities of the town, but that, while 
he sent for one or two of his best-informed pupils to act as 
guides, he would show us his house, for his wife was not one 
who kept her house as a prison, but entertained all guests that 
were not quite new comers. We eagerly accepted so flatter- 
ing an invitation, and were taken into several rooms, even 
the ante-room of the harim, where, in the cool breeze, his 
little black-eyed daughter, profusely adorned with gold, was 
spelling out some chapter of the Koran before a solemn old 
Mulla. Thence we passed into a yard, which had once been the 
nave of a Christian church, but now served to keep chickens 
and his wife^s palanquin. Lastly, he showed us his state 
diwan, hung with great banners of white and green, worked 
with crescents, which are carried before him on festivals and 
set upon the city walls on Fridays. Books, too, there were in 
profusion, ranged in glass cases, with yellow, green, and red 
bindings — books of law and religion. A very holy room it 
was, where the green-white-turbanded man performed his 
private prayers each Friday. 

He was intensely interested, the more so, perhaps, that it 
savoured of the forbidden thing, in my camera, which I 
showed him; being, in fact, anxious to photograph him. 
Knowing the fame of his piety, I did not dare to ask to take 
his picture ; but when I had gone to my room, he sent word 
to Yakob that he would again like to see the instrument. It 
was clear what this meant ; he had discussed the matter with 
some of his learned brethren, and concluded that, as neither 
he nor any other of the Faithful were concerned in the making 
of the picture, and as the Christians had no law in the matter, 
and could do as they liked, there could be no sin in allowing 

158 The Ruins of Dara, 

the operation. The method was so wonderful, that might it 
not be also from God, to whom be praise ? At least, the 
maker of the picture was one, and he whom it represented 
another, and if the one stood here with a wonderful box, and 
the other there among his muUas, what then ? His still holier 
brother spoke in the same way in Mardin^ and him, too, I 
photographed. But I strongly suspect that on reflection he 
repented, for when I sent him a copy of the photograph that 
Yakob took, I received no message of thanks. 

A similar method of argument was used in India, where a 
photographic studio was opened and managed entirely by 
Mohammedan ladies. It was excused on the ground that 
Mohammed had received no inspiration with regard to photo- 
graphy, and therefore did not include it in his rigid law, 
which forbade the making the representation of any human 

By the time the operation was finished, our guides were 
ready to conduct us round the ruins. All along the south- 
east we saw the remains of massive walls, connecting the 
principal entrance to the south with the great water-gate on 
the north-west. By the latter the walls were in very good 
condition, of enormous size and strength, and guarded by 
frequent round or octagonal bastions. The western tower of 
the main entrance was the more complete of the two ; and at 
the south-east corner of the walls was another tower of later 
date. North-west of the chief water-gate was a stone dam, 
and a fine embankment to prevent the overflow of the stream, 
and above that a reservoir protected by a wall. East of this 
was the acropolis, the Cyclopean stones of which have been 
largely used in the construction of the Kurdish village, built 
mainly upon its western side, and stretching from here down 
to the southern gate. The bastions were grouped chiefly 
about the north-east corner, by the water-gate, which seems 
to have been the point on which most labour was expended, 
both to maintain the supply and prevent its use by the 
enemy for the purpose of flooding the town. On the acropolis 
there were some very curious cuttings upon a smoothed face 
of rock, like intaglios engraved in the stone, as it were, for 

The Ruins of Dara, 159 

seal dies. There were in all some two hundred of them, 
in several clusters; and they seemed far too regular and 
isolated to be by any chance the result of fossil formation. 
The patterns were mainly spirals, shells, and curves. On 
this acropolis were also reservoirs for the further storage of 

The water-gates, mentioned by Gibbon,* were most re- 
markable, one at the north and another at the south, and 
each with a reservoir for collecting the water. The stream, 
one of those that joins the Mygdonius, had a full volume in 
June, and came down through the hills until it was confined 
by the embankment, and conducted from the reservoir through 
a four-arched water-gate below the walls of the city. In spite 
of the diflSculties found by Dr. Ainsworth in Procopius' 
account of this water, which is said to have been so con- 
ducted that the enemy could not cut it off, the facts seem 
to explain it quite suflSciently, especially if, as is possible, the 
volume was at that time greater than it now is. From these 
gates the water was conducted into the city, distributed 
through it, and again collected in the reservoir to the south, 
before its egress. So substantial is the masonry, that all this 
remains to the present day in almost perfect working order, 
and consequently Dara is one of the best-watered villages of 

Within the walls we were shown several huge buildings, as 
well as a number of ruined churches, all remarkable for the 
Cyclopean character of the masonry, not dissimilar m style to 
the older portions of Deir-el-Za'aferan. Of these remains the 
largest and best preserved was a subterranean building. It had 
a gallery running along one side, and vaulted, from one end 
of which a narrow staircase led down into a huge chamber of 
great height, and some eighty feet long,t divided into three 

* See Gibbon, ch. xl., who givea an aoooont of Dara, taken from Prooopins, 
Bell. 6k)th. iv. 7, cp. Ainsworth, ii. 340. 

f The measnrements are borrowed from Ainsworth, who, howerer, does not 
clearly explain that there are three aisles, 15ft. 9in. broad (ii. 339). 

It is 120ft. high. Badg. i. 308« who mmtiozis that a subterranean passage 
leads from one comer underneath the yillage« 

160 The Ruins of Dam. 

aisles by massive square pillars, which supported the vault- 
ing. The original use of the building was a mystery to my 
guides, although it was traditionally said to be a granary. 
Others said, however, it was used for storing water, or as a 
prison, a treasure house, or even as a diwan. In proof of its 
having been a prison, a hole in the wall was pointed out, 
through which a desperate prisoner once cut his way to the 
open air, some five feet above ! There were no means, however, 
of ascertaining its actual use. 

Another building, given over, like the last, to the swallows, 
and of similar plan, lies rather more to the north. It is built 
chiefly of brick, and seemed to have been a bath or a store 
house for water. The ground plan pointed to the former use. 
It was chiefly below ground, doubtless for the sake of cool- 
ness, and had much of its roof destroyed by lightning. It 
consisted once of ten parallel vaulted spaces, of which seven 
now remain, in which the water was stagnant, and from the 
vaults of which long stalactites hung. 

Perhaps, however, the most interesting remains at Dara 
were the numerous tombs and chapels that formed the 
necropolis. They were mostly cut from the living rock, some 
large enough to form sheep pens or refuges for the shepherds, 
others again with space only for the repose of one body or 
two. Most of the approaches were arched, and had legends, 
entirely illegible, in Greek uncials. One of these chambers 
measured over fifty feet each way, containing a gallery all 
round with compartments for tombs. Below was another 
gallery similarly treated. Greek inscriptions, much defaced, 
and rude sculpture were to be seen on all sides, referring to 
death and the dead. The building was, however, so full of 
sheep and their invariable attendants that we scarcely 
escaped from this most interesting building with whole skins. 

In regard to the history of Dara, it is said by Procopius 
that the Emperor Anastasius I., in fear of the encroach- 
ments of the Persians under the daring Kabades, fortified 
the village that existed on the spot.* Justinian then 

* Gibbon, zl. 502 A.D. 

The Ruins of Dara. 161 

increased its strength, and to him, doubtless, were due the 
magnificent fortifications which Gibbon, quoting Procopius, 
describes as representing the military architecture of the 
age. In 531 a.d., Chosroes the Great, called Nusherwan, 
contemplated its destruction, but spared it on condition that 
it should never again become the residence of the General 
of the East. 

Persian historians, however, ascribe its origin to Arsaces 
Tiridates, who became King of Armenia in 286 a.d., and in 
296 A.D. delivered Armenia from the Persian yoke. The 
city belonged first to the one then to the other power, 
until, in 590 a.d., it was restored by the great conqueror, 
Chosroes II., to the Romans. It is natural, therefore, that 
fire altars should be carved upon one tomb, and the Cross 
within the circle of Eternity upon another, and " that 
Byzantine sarcophagi should be as frequent as Persian 

In history it is most interesting for its splendid defence 
in 530 A.D. by Belisarius, the general of Justinian, against 
forty thousand Persians, which contrasts but sadly with the 
inglorious terms by which, in the next year, the Romans 
purchased the safety of their outpost. 

The glorious death struggle in which Heraclius led the 
Romans for the recovery of the true Cross simply marks in 
more glaring colours the break up of the empire that 
preceded the rise of the Arabians and the loss of all these 
frontier towns — Amida, Edessa, Nisibin, Dara, and Singara — 
over which Persians and Romans had fought for five hundred 
years. A younger and greater power was waiting to succeed 
them and end the struggle for a boundary in which the two 
powers — one following Darius, the other Alexander — had 
engaged. The work of the old world was done, and a new 
era began. 

The sun was high when we finished the exploration of Dara, 
and, though I would gladly have spent some days in a more 
exact examination of these most interesting ruins, it was time 

* Ainsworth, " Trayela in Asia Minor," ii. 117. 


162 Christian and Moslem. 

to return to Mardin. After a short farewell to the Sheikh, 
and many expressions of our enjoyment of our visit, we 
started, and arrived soon after dark at the house of the 
Patriarch, who was delighted to welcome us, being always 
anxious whenever his guests were out of his sight. 

My visit to Sheikh Mohammed made me realise for the first 
time that many blemishes that appear most glaringly on the 
forefront of Mohammedan life are not entirely the outcome 
of Mohammedanism. It is important in Turkey to distinguish 
the effect on the condition of the people of religion and the 
government under which they live, although that government 
be in fact a religious one, and the Sultan of the Turks also 
the Khalif of Islam. The Sheikh, living in simple state, 
shewed what the higher life of a Mohammedan may be ; that 
in no way is his religion one that shuts the door to personal 
holiness and the practice of those virtues which some would 
so jealously claim for Christianity alone. I was fortunate 
in meeting men of Moslem creed, pure and of a noble life, 
men hating the corruptions of oflScialdom, and anxious to 
purify the defects of popular Islam by perhaps an un- 
conscious reference to Christian standards; men whose 
notions of a brotherhood went out beyond the borders of their 
creed, who saw that slavery and polygamy were blemishes 
that it would be most surely in the spirit of their Great 
Pounder to modify now and in time abolish. The mills grind 
slowly in the East and little good would be done by sudden 
change ; but there is no doubt that polygamy is not cherished 
by higher Mohammedans, nor has slavery the ghastly 
features so indelibly stamped upon it in the South, and in the 
Western hemisphere. The methods of securing slaves may 
be what they may, but the conditions of slavery in the house 
of a good Mohammedan in Turkey compares not unfavourably 
with that of servants in many a European house. By no 
means is it intended to deny the utter evils of polygamy, or 
that the practice is condoned by the Koran. But after all 
it is the . exception rather than the rule in Turkey, and, 
I believe, in most Turkish countries; and in most cases 
for the plain reason that it is an expensive luxury to 

Christian and Moslem, 163 

have more than one wife. Slaves, and especially female 
slaves, are not so uncommon, and that on the score of 
economy, and it is impossible not to recognise the evil 
attending this fact. Contrasting the life of the Sheikh of 
Dara with that of our good friend Antonios Azar of Aleppo, 
polished gentleman of a civilised town, and taking circum- 
stances into account, there is not so much difFerence. 
Antonios has two negro slave girls ; to a third he lately gave 
her liberty. They are happy, having a good mistress, and not 
being in the degraded position with regard to their master to 
which the slaves of many a Moslem house are condemned, 
and in time will earn their freedom. They cost forty liras 
each, and are well worth it to their master. Mohammed, 
however, keeps no slaves, and has but one wife, and for 
servants has the ministers of the mosque. 

Hard though it is to balance the character of Moslem and 
Christian in Turkey, where the faults of each are accentuated 
by their relative positions of conqueror and subject, yet there 
are certain types which court comparison and seem to show, 
among much good and evil evenly distributed between the 
two, a balance in favour of the Christian. There is little 
enough to choose between the efendi, freshly sent from 
Stambul to fill some minor post in a country town and import 
all the vices which he has learned in that sink of Eastern 
and Western iniquity, and the clerk, who, calling himself 
Greek Orthodox, or, perhaps. Papal Armenian, spends 
half of his day in the counting-house of a seaport Syrian town, 
and the other half sipping arrak and gambling in a caf6. It 
would be as hard to find viler specimens of humanity, presum- 
ably civilised, than these two as to weigh their peculiar merits. 

If, however, we contrast two representative men in another 
rank of life, a difference will appear. There is a man lately 
honoured with the title of Pasha for the boundless services 
done to a grateful Government by devastating a hundred 
villages and enriching some high oflScial out of the proceeds, 
to wit, the Kurd Mustafa, of whom more when we reach 
Nisibin. Such a man compares but ill with the wealthiest 
landlord of the Syrian community, one Abd-el-Messiah, who 

M 2 

164 Christian and Moslem. 

lives in a village north of the Tigris. It is true that 
the old type of Kurdish beg, by the witness of most travel- 
lers, was, as a rule, a good landlord and a kindly man ; but 
he has been exterminated by a nervous official policy; and 
such men as Mustafa now represent the Kurdish landlords, 
but a poor contrast to Abd-el -Messiah, who lives among 
his people, supporting and feeding them, maintaining from 
his own purse a school and church, as his fathers did 
before him, a man who is a by- word through Mesopotamia 
for hospitality to all, noble open-handedness, and simpleness 
of life. 

But with the best type of a Mohammedan, such as Sheikh 
Mohammed, let us contrast the Syrian Bishop, who is admitted 
by all to rank highest both for simpleness and holiness as 
well as for the life of active good to which he has devoted 
himself. In the influence of Mutran Hanna^s gentle life 
none fail to recognise a spirit to which no Moslem does or ever 
can lay claim, a purity of motive, a sacrifice of lifers goods, a 
simple trust in a God that is a Father, which is far removed 
from the sublimest we can find in the hard monotheism of 
Islam ; all this combined with a hatred of intrigue and 
"Politika,^' as the arts of public life are admirably phrased in 
Arabic, and a simple desire to further the good of his people. 
One pictures readily the house of hospitality and almsgiving 
that are connected with a true Moslem ; but where can we 
find one like this good Bishop riding from house to house, 
and village to village, preaching God's gospel and comforting 
the comfortless, hearing the troubles and soothing the quarrels 
of manv a Svrian home ? It is here the parallel fails. The 
Moslem is charitable, as no other man is, for are not all of 
the Faith brothers ? but he lacks the common love for a 
Father which bids men be charitable in virtue of the Love 
which sacrificed itself for men, and leads them to sacrifice all 
to alleviate by but one jot the misery of life and advance the 
glory of the kingdom of God. 

Nor is it only in the higher paths that the one faith yields 
to the other. Go into any house in an interior town, and in 
one moment you will see whether it is Moslem or Christian ; 

Christian and Moslem, 165 

and that not so much by the wealth or poverty, the cleanliness 
or dirt ; but in the one you will see women, perhaps unveiled, 
who will be polite to you, and not fly as at the approach of a 
wolf, and in the other is the solemn dryness that lacks the 
element of female influence. Only too much room is there 
for improvement in the Christian house, and thanks to the 
good work of American missionaries there has been a very 
great change, so that in a well-to-do house in Diarbekr the 
ladies sit and talk with perfect equality with men in the 
diwan, and that not in a '* Protestant " family. But in the 
Moslem house there is all the seclusion, all the dense 
stupidity, the bitter dissension, interwoven with the rule of 
the harim, which twelve centuries of Islam have been power- 
less to amend. In the Christian house it is a far different 
. case ; and often there is more difference between elder brother 
and younger than between younger brother and the women 
of the house. Nothing is more remarkable in these towns 
than the way in which the primitive purity of life has been 
maintained by the Christian. The case is different where 
there has been contact with the western cities. But in the 
towns of the interior the standard of morality is very high, 
and admitted by most travellers to be so, forming perhaps the 
strongest contrast of all between the manners of Moslem and 

Celibacy is not enforced among the clergy; indeed for 
the parish priest it is forbidden; but there is celibacy for 
monks and bishops, and it is wonderful how almost un- 
heard of are the evils supposed to accompany a celibate 
priesthood. So much so, that the Patriarch absolutely 
refused to believe a very positive charge made against a 
monk, and said that never in all his ninety-four years had 
he heard of such a case, nor could he believe in his old 
age that such a one had occurred. 

It is hard to say how a conquered people would behave, 
were its relation to its rulers reversed. The Syrians never 
were a conquering nation, and perhaps will remain for 
ever subject. They are a loyal people, industrious, peace- 
ful, intensely patriotic, and tenacious of their creed and 

166 Christian and Moslem. 

nationality. But they cherish no idea of rebellion, even 
were it practicable, nor do they seem to realise any other 
position for themselves than that of dependents. But one 
can readily realise what an influence such a people, puri- 
fied in their creed and imbued with a spirit of progressive 
Christianity, may have upon rulers who never have regarded 
them, nor do now regard them, with anything but friendliness 
and toleration. In this respect they compare favourably with 
all the other Churches under the Sultan. They are strong 
enough, and live in civilised places enough, not to be a prey 
to mountain robbers, like the Nestorians. They are not 
powerful or ambitious enough to have any desire to shake ofE 
the rule under which they live, like the Armenians. They 
are not consumed by a hereditary feud with a neighbour like 
the Maronites, nor objects of suspicion, as dependents and 
spies of a foreign power, and doubtful worshippers of a 
pure faith, like all the Papal Christians. So they stand 
in a peculiarly favourable position, inviting the help of 
which they are worthy in order to render them able to 
do that work which God has moat certainly preserved them 
to accomplish. 

It is not to be denied that what has been said exhibits the 
Syrians, as compared with their Moslem neighbours, in a 
favourable light — eager for reform in the dark places of their 
Church, eager for education, and eager, above all, to be 
recognised as part of the Catholic Church of Christ, and to 
regain some of the position which has been denied to them 
ever since the sixth century. Mardin, too, and Diarbekr are 
towns where life is very tolerable indeed, and where the 
Christians are strong enough in numbers to stand firmly to 
their rights. Further north and west matters are different, 
owing to the complications due to the Armenian question, of 
which one begins to feel the influence in Diarbekr. But there 
is no Syrian question ; and, in consequence, the Christians 
of Mardin are well o£F with regard to the exercise of their 
religion and freedom to trade and converse with the outer 
world. But it is in the villages that we may find the shadows 
with which to heighten the picture. Ride but thirty miles, or 

Christian and Moslem. 167 

even three miles, from Mardin, if you can find a village 
where Christians live among Moslems, and the difference will 
appear. Go to such a place as Saert, which is renowned for 
the fanatical character of its Moslem inhabitants, and it is 
literally true that, if a Moslem strike a Christian on one 
cheek, he must straightway offer him the other also, and that 
not for humility and the love of his Master, but because he 
dare not do otherwise. 

The year 1892 was a black-letter year in the history of 
recent Turkish government in country places. For two years 
the cords have been much tightened, and this combined 
with the exactions of a syndicate formed in Diarbekr 
for the collection of the corn-tithes, and containing, I 
regret to say, some of the leading Armenians of the town, 
have made it a very hard year for the village people. 
The harvest, too, was bad, and the Kurd and Arab more 
unruly than usual, so that as I passed from one village 
to another the people cried that things could scarcely go 
further, and it must be that God had turned away his face 
and would not hear. 

One day, as I arrived at a village in Jebel Tur, some thirty 
miles from Mardin, an old man came in on his way to the 
governor at Mardin. He had just arrived from the small 
village of Ain Werdeh, of which he was the chief, and brought 
a horrible tale of brutality. He had been for some years out 
of favour with the Government, whether for good or evil I do 
not know. 

About a month since, mounted police had arrived in the 
village for the purpose of collecting taxes. They were armed, 
and carried their arms loaded, as they always do; they 
demanded the taxes of the village, one hundred Turkish 
pounds, which were promptly brought by the nephew and son 
of the old man. As soon as they received the money, the 
police turned on the men, and said they must arrest them ; 
but, as they gave no reason whatever for this, the men walked 
away. One of the police slowly raised his gun and shot one 
dead, and the second followed his example, and the other lay 
by his side. Nine nephews, six sons, and five brothers had 

168 Ch-iMian and Moslem. 

the old man lost at the hands of the police. So he came to 
Mardin, and stayed there six months, but no redress could he 
obtain. He came day after day, and said, " Take me to see 
your great Christian Queen ; why have we no Christian Queen ? 
God cannot hear us here among the Moslem j He has forgotten 
us, or why do such things happen ? Praise be to God ! But 
I would wish I could see a Christian Queen. '^ 

-» i 



.■ I 


Jebel Tiir. 169 


Jkbel Tub — the Mountain Home op the Syrians. 

And just as far as ever from the end ! 

Nought in the distance but the evening*, nought 

To guide my footsteps further ! 

. . • • • 

For, looking up, aware I somehow grew, 

Spite of the dusk, the plains had given place 

All round to mountains .... 

R. B. 

The middle of the third week of August had been predicted 
as the time when the cool wind would come and put an end to 
the tropical heat which the hot winds had ushered in at the 
beginning of July. It was now time to prepare for an 
expedition to the mountain country north-east of Mardin. It 
required a fortnight to make the necessary preparations, 
buying horses and those provisions for which it would be 
unwise to depend on a district in which Midhiat was the only 
village that boasted a regular bazar. 

Yakob was to come with me, and in order to avoid the 
trouble as well as the risk of a large caravan in a country 
where there are plenty of Kurds, whose sole occupation is 
robbery, we determined to content ourselves with two horses, in 
spite of the derogation which my dignity might sufFer from the 
absence of a fitting train. But there was this advantage, that 
one man can keep a secret better than two; and it is a golden 
rule in out-of-the-way places never to let more people than 
necessary know in what direction one is travelling, nor on 
what day. Guides are always procurable from day to day at 
the villages, and have this in their favour, as compared to 

t^-ivfTtiXttent iK>Iice, that they do not attract attention or make 
yi^^tfi]^ think that there is money with the caravan. One reason 
i^feT tho American missionaries travel with such complete 
^f^^v all over this country is that they make it a principle 
m*vt*r to carry money and are known never to do so ; secondly, 
thev always pay for what they have and bring no zaptiehs to 
quarter themselves upon the villagers, who know the mis- 
sionaries to be their friends and to come for their good. 

The mountains of Jebel Tur occupy the north-east comer of 
Mesopotamia, stretching eastward from Mardin to Jezirah, 
with their southern and western spurs reaching down into the 
plain all along the line that runs through Dara, Nisibin, and 
Tchelagha. Northward, the bend of the Tigris shuts the 
mountains in, while westward they run into the range of 

It is a country of barren hills, containing here and there 
valleys of rich pasture, and hillsides carefully cultivated for 
vines and cotton. There was a time when it was not so; 
when Nisibin and Hakh were capitals in a rich land, when 
roads were there, and water in plenty, stored from the winter 
rains ; but now it is the same here as elsewhere. " The 
highways lie waste, the wayfaring man ceaseth " ; " the land 
it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein.'^ * 
Truly may it be said " Wherefore hath the Lord done thus 
unto the land ? what meaneth the heat of this great anger ? " 
So it is over most of this hill country ; the people are op- 
pressed more by the Kurds than by the Government, and 
partly too by themselves ; for it may be almost said that in 
these wild places there is no government, except so much as 
is represented by the mounted police that periodically visit it 
to collect taxes. 

The Mutserraf of Mardin I had already found to be of the 
nature of a bear, not only rude, but disobliging ; and he was 
the only official from whom I experienced nothing but dis- 
courtesy. He refused to supply us with a zaptieh, on the 
plea that we were not going the shortest way to Mosul (the 

* Is. xxxiii. 8 ; Deat. xzix. 23. 


Mardin to Ma'dsirta. Sept. 7. 171 

end of our journey), but should follow the Nisibin road, which 
led across the plain, and was almost without water. Besides 
which, I had come without a zaptieh from Diarbekr, and had 
no special passport for travel in the Walayet from the Wali, 
although I assured him that I had sent especial word to the 
Wali, who approved of my tour, and had said that no such 
passport would be necessary. But the man was obdurate, 
and we started alone. It was the last I saw of the man ; for 
when I returned from Mosul, he had been dismissed by the 
request of the whole town, in which he was very unpopular, 
and a most excellent man from Northern Armenia reigned in 
his stead. 

It is always a troublesome affair starting on a journey in 
Turkey; adjusting the weights to the several capacities of 
the animals, seeing that nothing is forgotten, and that there 
are no sore backs or loose shoes among the horses. This, and 
the obstinacy of the Mutserraf, delayed our departure until 
four o'clock, so that we had to look forward to a ride over 
unknown country for two hours in the dark. The only guide 
we could procure was an aged man, who was ready to go any 
distance at any pace for twenty piastres — ^a large price for a 
day^s journey ; but there was no time to bargain, so we took 
him with us, and trusted to obtain a more serviceable man at 
Midhiat. For an hour the old man — our "uncle,*^ as we 
called him, being unaware of his name — kept up with us ; but 
as dusk came on, and we rode at a very fast walk, we heard 
sounds about a quarter of a mile behind us, on the opposite 
side of a hill, as of a child whining. He thought he would be 
lost, and judged himself scarcely better off, whatever we 
thought of the matter, when we fell in with a party of boys 
returning to the village of Ma^asirta, whither we were bound, 
with half-a-dozen donkeys, which they had driven into 
Mardin that morning loaded with grapes. Leaving the old 
man to their mercy, of which he got a scant share, for the 
boys were in a mischievous mood and delighted to have a butt 
for their wit, which had been polished highly that day in the 
markets at Mardin, we rode on, in the direction that the boys 
showed us, through countless vineyards, until we reached 

172 Mardin to Ma^asiirta. Sept. 7. 

Ma'asirta, the centre of a grape-growing district. There we 
were to be the guests of the Syrian priest, who, h'ke many of 
the village priests, added to his small stipend by following a 
trade, namely, that of dyeing the rough mountain cloth. His 
hands, stained a deep indigo, betrayed his occupation. As 
our arrival was late, we had considerable difficulty in gaining 
an entrance, for the priest was out attending to a small vine- 
yard which he possessed just outside the village, and the rest 
of the family were settled on the roof ready for their evening 
meal, and not at all inclined to come down and be troubled 
with importunate guests. It was a fine party that we found 
on the roof, when we had settled our animals for the night, 
and ascended by a rickety staircase to arrange our beds and 
other matters for the night. There was the housewife and 
her brother from a neighbouring \nllage, together with a 
miscellaneous collection of children, to say nothing of a tame 
goat and great shaggy dogs that kept watch all night. 
Before long the priest came in with a huge basket of luscious 
grapes, which, with the melon we had brought, and the 
excellent cakes supplied by the unfailing kindness of one of 
the American ladies at Mardin, made an excellent supper. It 
was a busy time of year, and the priest had much to talk 
about with regard to the grape season, the harvest, and a 
dozen other things, beside matters of ecclesiastical and 
national concern, of which he eagerly enquired from us as 
new arrivals from Mardin. But we were all tired and glad to 
go to sleep ; and for the first time I lay down upon an 
Eastern roof, and looked at the stars until they twinkled me 
to sleep, to the baying of wakeful dogs and the mournful 
sounds of babies crying. 

When we awoke early the next morning we saw all round 
the signs that we were in the land of the vine. Ma'asirta is 
famous all through Mesopotamia as the place where the best 
grapes grow, and for miles round all the paths and roads lead 
between vineyards, " a wall being on this side, and on that,^' 
built of rough stones, and generally having a thick layer of 
old vine-rods or brambles on the top to keep out foxes and 
other pilferers. The people take the greatest care of these 

A Grape Country, 173 

*' hedges," as they are called in the Psalms,* and their good 
repair is one of the chief signs of prosperity and thrift about 
a village. Thus Solomon says, " I went by . . . the vineyard 
of the man void of understanding ; and, lo, it was all grown 
over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, 
and the stone wall thereof was broken down.*' 

Every vineyard contains its " lodge," a cottage where the 
family will spend some of the summer months, when the 
grapes are ripening and afFord tempting spoil to the passer-by. 
Such was the "tower" in St. Matthew xxi. 33, and the 
" lodge " in the garden of cucumbers in Isaiah i. 8. Beside 
these are often erected booths of less substantial form, 
being mere platforms of brushwood upon a framework of 
wooden poles, where a boy or two may watch during the day 
under the shade of oak-branches, and the workers sleep at 
night.f Careful though they were in guarding the vineyards, 
and strict as was the law of trespass among the Jews, yet the 
traveller might always gather so much as he wished to eat, so 
that he did not gather them into a basket ; just as a man 
might pluck the ears of corn, but not enter another's corn field 
with a sickle to reap. J Such provisions are doubly necessary 
in a thirsty land, in which one may often travel hours with- 
out coming to a house where water or food may be obtained ; 
and often as we passed between the walla of a vineyard, we 
picked or asked for some bunches of the rich fruit. 

Besides the lodge there is generally a wine press, such as 
those which in Palestine mark the places where the vineyards 

* Ps. Ixxx. 12. Such a paasa^ as that of St. Matthew xxi. 33, together with 
many others, may be literally illnstrated from modem methods of vine culture. 
The same remark applies to almost all cultivation of the earth in the East. 
Among other passages are Isaiah y. 1-6, Joel iii. 13, Isaiah xvi. 10, St. John xv. 2. 
Isaiah xxvii. 4, may refer to the briars on the walls. It may be noticed that in 
Surrey the word hedge is still commonly used for any bank, even without trees 
that encloses a field. 

t Job xxvii. 18 ; Isaiah i. 8, xxvii. 3. 

X Exod. xxii. 5; Dent, xxiii. 24. Like this was the law forbidding to 
** wholly reap the corners of the field," or to *' gather every grape of the vine- 
yard." '* Thou shalt leave them for the poor, and the stranger." ' Levit. xix. 
cp. Dout. xxiv. 19. 

174 Ma'cutirta to Midhiat, Sept. 8. 

once were, generally places dug out and cemented, or in rock 
country cut from the hill side ; and lastly there is somewhere 
in the inclosure, or perhaps in the village, a huge ba«in, some- 
times cut out of the earth and cemented, with a space below 
for fire, in which the " dibbiz '' is made by boiling the common 
grapes. It is a kind of thick syrup, like treacle, and is 
largely used with rice and other plain food, as we use jam. 
In the wine press, the grapes are generally trodden underfoot, 
except those used for sacramental wine, which are pressed 
in the hands. Of the dregs of the wine press is made arrak, 
or mastik, a kind of fiery liqueur, which is the favourite beve- 
rage of the Turkish oflScial persons and of all those who take 
their pleasure in gardens and so make keif. 

Good reason had we to bless the grapes ; for the weather 
was still hot, and everywhere throughout Jebel Tur is there 
plenty of good grapes, although none so good as those of 

After an excellent breakfast of omelette and grapes, 
supplied by the priest, a worthy man, but not remarkable for 
religious fervour, we went to look at a church, newly built at 
the Patriarch's expense, on the ruins of an ancient building. 
There was nothing to be seen in the building, which was neat 
enough, but the fine marble tomb of a young boy, discovered 
when the foundations were dug out, and in virtue thereof 
promoted to be a saint. 

Our aged guide we dismissed with our blessing and half the 
stipulated price, and started for Midhiat, under the escort of 
the priest's brother-in-law. Everyone was busy in the village 
boiling " dibbiz," or at the threshing-floor winnowing out the 
chafF, while to and fro from the fountain under the rock came 
women bearing pitchers, picturesque in their long maroon 
dresses, and accompanied by little naked boys, and small girls 
dressed in miniature like their mothers. Out past them we 
climbed the hill and got among the vineyards, through which 
we rode for some time, until rugged rocks and scraggy oak 
trees took their place, and we came to a country of ruined 
towns. To each inquiry about the next village, we received 
the answer that its name was " Kharbah," the ruin, and so 

Ths "Kharbaha." Our Horses. 175 

we found village after village with buildings of the lower 
Empire date^ and all deserted since many a long day. 

The paths were exceedingly bad and not at all clear ; nor 
were matters improved by the behaviour of Yakob's horse, 
who to-day gave samples of what he promised the day before ; 
he fell twice, stumbled every twenty yards, and at stated 
intervals threw out a fore leg sharply, tied up the rest in an 
elaborate knot, and by a mighty effort threw himself out of it, 
nearly landing himself on his back. No harm ever came of 
this diversion, except that it filled Yakob with abject and, for 
an unpractised horseman, not unreasonable terror. My own 
mare had been more carefully chosen, a steady, middle-aged 
lady, with immense walking power, who took no notice of her 
companion's frivolities, beyond cocking one contemptuous ear 
and taking advantage of the delay to increase her distance 
from him. She was a good half-breed, used to mountain 
work, and far more adapted to such travelling than a thorough- 
bred Arab would have been. 

At the first Kharbah that we reached our companion left 
us, directing us to another a little further on, and thence by 
signs, clear enough to one who knew the country but rather 
uncertain to us, as far as Midhiat. The road, he said, was as 
clear as a Kurdish Agha's conscience, and we should find it 
as easily. The priest's brother-in-law, it seemed, was a witty 
man. We had descended a valley, and climbed another hill 
with such trust in our animaFs intuition, for there was no 
apparent path, that we might have been going with our eyes 
shut, when in a wood we met two ferocious-looking ruffians, 
armed with rifles and stuck all over with knives, who told us 
that we were making good headway for a village some 
fifteen miles north-west of Midhiat, a fact of which our 
divergence from the telegraph line should have made us 
aware. The men turned out to be the merest lambs in 
wolves' clothing, one of them a Syrian, the other a Kurd. 
Nevertheless, we were not sure that they were not misdirect- 
ing us to serve some private end, until we again saw the 
telegraph posts, and had exchanged some paras for a bundle 
of delicious mountain cucumbers. Taking care not to lose 

176 Villaqe Politi^^s, 

sight again of the precious telegraph, we soon marched boldly 
into the Moslem village of Absha, half-way to Midhiat. There 
among half a dozen wells we came upon the pastoral scene so 
common in this dry country, but which seems always to have 
a fresh charm, the girls driving the sheep to water and the 
boys and men keeping off the cattle until the goats and sheep 
had drunk. Upon the mouth of each well lay a stone; and, 
when it was moved, one of the lads would let down a pitcher, 
or a goatskin bound round the mouth with a withy, to fill the 
trough, and then go again to the well and draw water. We 
had to wait like the cattle until the sheep had drunk, and 
then one of the girls " hasted, and let down her pitcher upon 
her hand, and gave us to drink." 

As we were near the village, I let the reins hang upon my 
mare's neck, where they lay as she drank ; however, for some 
strange reason she chose to enter the village by a narrow lane, 
roofed over about seven feet from the ground with vine- 
withies. There was room for her, but not for me ; so that 
while she went straight ahead, I was left swinging in the air 
among the withies, not at all the most pleasant things to be 
caught amongst. Unfortunately this carefully guarded lane 
led to the Sheikh's harim, as I soon discovered from the yells 
with which its polished inmates greeted me. My mare from 
the nature of the case had a free passage, but I was left 
swinging, until matters explained themselves, and I obtained 
a safe conduct to the village house of refreshment. Such 
houses are generally to be found in every village, and are 
maintained at the expense of the inhabitants for the purpose 
of carrying out the law of hospitality so strongly insisted upon 
by Mohammedan law as well as Christian charity. 

I soon forgot my scratches in the enjoyment of a splendid 
bowl of leben and a fine, juicy water-melon, which we ate 
sitting under the shade of a small verandah in the Sheikh's 
courtyard, and listened to the many inquiries of the village 
worthies as to who we were and whither we were bound. Our 
host was accustomed to entertain the American missionaries, 
and was glad to welcome one of their number, as he thought 
me to be. Of an English variety of that multiform religion 

Village Politics. 177 

of Christianity he had never heard tell; nor, as he was a 
Moslem^ did it seem worth while to explain the distinguishing 
features of our Church's creed ; so we asked the news. This 
was the signal for an aged sheikh^ the gossip of the village^ 
to exalt his horn, and tell how some weeks before the Prince 
of all the Protestants, one Mutran Mattha, had come to their 
village on his way from Jezireh to Mardin, and filled them all 
with wonder at his gracious manners and knowledge of things 
political. Now this was our good friend the Papal Syrian 
IHshop of Mardin, whose most distinguishing character is his 
ultramontane zeal ; so our host seized the opportunity of 
displaying superior knowledge, and delivered an oration upon 
the various subtleties of Christian disagreement, in which his 
experience entitled him to lay down the law. There was, of 
course, a quarrel, in which I was appealed to, and told them 
that I knew one faith only, that of God the Father, the Son, 
and the Holy Spirit, and did not worship either the Bible or 
the Virgin, to one of which they conceive that all Christians 
paid homage. This they thought strange, for of the Christian 
faith they had heard little, and doubted what this new form 
of it could be, thanking God that they were Moslems and had 
no need to trouble about religion so long as some of them 
prayed morning and evening, and the rest gave praise to God 
when the grapes were plentiful or a son was born. 

There was a matter of far more importance to relate. 
Could I not help them to a new sheikh by my unbounded 
influence at Mardin and the Courts of Europe ? The village 
had taken sides in a furious feud caused by the late sheikh, 
and half of them wished him to be suspended. This was a 
delicate matter for interference, which might easily lead to 
bloodshed, so I made an excuse to call the horses and get on 
my way while daylight remained for the rest of our journey 
to Midhiat. Such a state of division is normal in these 
villages — Christian, I regret to say, as much as Moslem — and 
is due to the absence of any Government authority in the 
mountains. At the same time, it gives a tone to a life which 
is, at the best of times, colourless. 

Our host accompanied us to point out the way beyond the 


a 78 MidhiaL 

vineyards, in his last words praying us to remember about 
the sheikh, that son of a black camel. In three hours we 
reached Estel, a flourishing village in the middle of a rich 
valley, and supporting a large number of people by its 
weaving and dyeing industry. But we stopped only for a 
bowl of water, and made the best of our way to Midhiat, 
being anxious to get in for the night, and make arrangements 
for a ride the following day to the river Tigris. 

On reaching Midhiat, which stands in the middle of an 
undulating valley stretching from the hills ten miles to the 
west, to others four or five miles to the right, we soon found 
the house of Hanna Sefr, to which we had been directed in 
Mardin by Abu-Selim. He belonged to the chief Syrian 
family in the place, and being a man fairly well-to-do, had a 
good house built in the usual open-air fashion, with a strong 
flavour of the farmyard, through which we entered, and where 
dogs, cattle, sheep, and horses wandered about in a friendly 
manner in and out of the open door among the servants and 
children, making altogether an unparalleled scene of dirt and 
confusion. There is plenty of colour everywhere in the East, 
but more here than usual, thanks to the rich maroon, with 
which the women dye their clothes, and the picturesque 
dresses of boys and men; long white tunics with gaily striped 
scarves round the waist, and gorgeous red and yellow head- 
dresses, of which the ends of the kerchief are stuck up like 
wings upon a Norseman's helmet. A very handsome set of 
men they are, too, these mountain Syrians, something very 
different from the courteous townsmen of Mardin, but no less 
hospitable ; wilder and far more impetuous, but with a spirit 
that seems capable of better things than the majority of their 
more polished countrymen. In spite, however, of the joys of 
the farmyard, we were glad to escape from the crowd of 
animals, and the stare of the children, up on to the cool roof, 
where coffee and a dish of grapes were awaiting us after our 

An admirable supper of lamb and rice, with leben, milk, 
and fresh cheese, ending with more grapes and coffee, 
inclined us only too readily to sleep. There was a zaptieh 



A Village Bimbashi. 179 

with us on the roof, bound the next day to Kaf r-Juz, a village 
on our way, who promised to accompany us ; and we slept in 
peace, thinking ourselves fortunate. After an hour's rest, 
however, we were rudely awakened by the loud talk of a tall, 
blustering man, demanding my passport. I suggested the 
morrow as a more seemly season for such interruption; 
but, discovering the man to be drunk, thought it wiser to 
humour him, especially as he was *' Bimbashi," or head of the 
police, in all the importance of Turkish oflBcialism drunk. 
We therefore held a parley, in the course of which he dis- 
covered his first surmise to be true, and triumphantly pointed 
to the lion on my English passport as a proof that I was a 
Russian spy. As to the Turkish teskereh, that was nothing ; 
I had stolen it. But there was the very language, and there 
the very lion, tail and all, that he knew so well in Moscow. 
Argument was palpably useless; so off he rolled in a hic- 
coughing fever of delight, with the poor old British lion, to 
show to the Qaimaqam, the local governor, and prove his 
penetration in the matter of Russian spies. He nearly fell to 
the ground in his efforts to find the steps from the roof, nor 
did anyone assist him. 

We determined to get the start of him, and knowing that, 
being drunk, he was unlikely to be up very early, hurried off 
soon after daybreak to visit the Qaimaqam ; who, having been 
lately summoned to Mardin to explain matters relating to the 
murder at Ain Werdeh^ had fallen suddenly sick, and retired 
to one of the monasteries just outside Midhiat. So we t^tarted 
for the Deir, and found the great man certainly rather 
feverish, and enjoying the beautiful air and an early smoke 
in the best room of the place. His indisposition was fortunate, 
allowing me to open business by prescribing a sure and 
certain cure for his malaria. Nothing could exceed his 
gratitude, nor the badness of his coffee ; guests we were, he 
said, and entitled to all the resources of Turkish civilisation. 
After this auspicious beginning the Bimbashi arrived, and 
received a chilling order to be less oflScious in future and to 
pay suitable attention to distinguished strangers. He was 
very sulky, especially when the passports, on which he relied 

N 2 

180 Midhiat to Hasan Kaf, Sept. 9. 

for our conviction, were handed back to me, immediately the 
Qaimaqam had seen that they bore the proper signatures; 
and he muttered that he had not been aware of our imperial 
connections in Europe. 

The Qaimaqam, to whom I showed my map, then discoursed 
intelligently upon Turkish geography, but soon reverted to 
his favourite science of medicine. " Scorpions ? Yes,'' he 
said, ^' they were plentiful in Jebel Tur ; and had I any means 
of dealing with their stings ? " On my suggesting hot water 
to allay the pain, and stop the circulation; "Ah, yes," he 
cried, with delight, " the scorpion is a large microbe, its sting 
a smaller one ; apply hot water, and it acts as a true anti- 
septeek ! " He had read some translations of French medical 
books, and was much pleased to display his knowledge, which, 
however, went scarcely beyond these two terms, which he 
applied to every form of disease and medicine. After some 
more talk of this kind, and whole mouthf uls of polite speeches, 
we bowed ourselves out of the room, with a hope that we 
might find him still here, but better, on our return. A most 
refreshing specimen of the Turkish official class, which is not 
as a rule of a communicative turn, although he was described 
by the American missionary at Midhiat as a bumble bee in a 

Leaving all the baggage behind that we did not require 
in the mountains, we lost no time in getting the rest into 
the "khurjes," or large travelling bags, that hang on each 
side of the baggage animal, and starting on our way to 
Hasan Kaf, a large village on the Tigris, where we were to 
sleep. Our host found a guide who would take us as far 
as Salah, a Syrian village two hours' ride from Midhiat, 
where the Bishop would supply another to take us to Hasan 
Kaf. Our way lay over downs, as bare of trees and rocky 
as only downs in Turkey can be. Salah, however, stood on 
a well-cultivated hillside, and was found to contain a church 
of considerable interest, which had the rare advantage of 
an inscription containing its date. The Bishop, however, a 
bad-tempered, decrepit old man, excommunicated by the 
Patriarch for ordaining unfit men to be priests and neglecting 

Midhiat to Hasan Kaf. Sept, 9. 181 

bis people, added little dignity to the monastery. It was a 
deserted-looking place, although it must once have been a 
fine building. Round a small court were ranged various 
rooms, and, from an arch leading into an inner court, 
we climbed some steps to the roof, and reached a small 
upper room where the Bishop was resting from the mid- 
day heat. 

The fact that we came from the Patriarch produced little 
effect upon him, but he put on his cloak and turband to show 
us the church, and shouted to a boy to go and pick a good 
basket of grapes and then find a guide for us in the village. 
The church was much larger than those I had hitherto seen, 
and approaching to the Greek type, common in Asia Minor, 
rather than to the earlier buildings of Syria and Mesopo- 
tamia. Its chief features were three high lancet windows 
on tlie north and south of the nave, and a fine waggon-roof 
of brick, arching the same from east to west, so that the 
whole formed a great contrast to the low and badly-lighted 
churches of most Syrian towns. The bricks of the roof had 
gained the most lovely soft colours, and were arranged in a 
design worthy of the finest Lombard work — three squares, 
each formed of four triangles, meeting in a centre. Above the 
sanctuary door, which was of fine design and roughly carved, 
something in the same manner as the friezes of Nisibin, ran 
an inscription, stating that the church was built a.d. 1109. 
Other inscriptions there were, built into the walls inside and 
out, in the Estrangeli character ; but I had neither the 
time nor the means for making squeezes. Of a large store 
of books, all that had escaped the ravages of time, the 
Moslem, and the German collector, were the incomplete 
leaves of a copy of the Gt)spels on parchment, of the same 
date as the church. The poor old Bishop cared for none of 
these things, and seemed only tired of being asked questions 
which he could not answer. Nor was his temper improved 
by the sting of an indignant baby-scorpion, whose sleep he 
had disturbed while searching for materials with which to 
make some rough sandals for our guide. We ate a good 
dish of grapes, and, leaving the old man to bathe the sting 

182 Kafr Juz. 

with that microbe-antisepteek, hot water, we started off at a 
round pace towards Hasan Kaf . 

Low, barren downs, always rising slightly towards the 
north, our guide, quite an old man, traversed with the 
agility of a hare. We passed little but Moslem villages, 
Kurdish shepherds, and here and there a ruined rock-built 
church, until we reached at last a height that commanded 
one of the most glorious views in Mesopotamia. Straight 
before us to the north stretched a plain some four miles 
broad, and double that distance from east to west. Green 
and fertile even in September, the valley was crossed by a 
stream, belted thick with willow trees, and watering on the 
hill slopes fields of cotton and maize. Further down was 
tobacco, and every here and there were men and children 
standing along the banks of heaped-up corn and throwing it 
high in the wind to winnow out the chaff. Near them 
were boys driving oxen round the threshing-floors and singing 
as they drove, or bringing in the sheaves for threshing, while 
girls and women walked behind gleaning what was left. 
Northwards were the mountains shutting in the Tigris, 
through which the pass we were to follow pierced, and down 
which the stream came ; westwards the hills that mount by 
degrees to the Karajadagh ; and on the east the range that 
stretches on to Kerboran. Over all these hills the late after- 
noon sent shadow after shadow, while it filled the valley with 
a warm, sunny glow. Just below us, near the foot of the 
mountain on which we stood, was the prosperous village of 
Kafr Juz, where dwelt a splendid Kurdish beg, with twelve 
splendid sons, in three splendid houses. Away from towns 
and interfering oflScials, these sons of Nimrod ply a pleasant 
trade, and rule the valley, hampered though they are by 
administrative reforms, slighted and belittled by a Govern- 
ment, whose nervous policy has no other means of dealing 
with an hereditary class, which they fear to use and cannot 
abolish; but whose services were once a bulwark of the 
empire, the ancient landed gentry of Turkey. 

Down in the plain we met one of these sons, a boy of about 
fourteen, riding a fine mare and attended by an old servant. 

A Weird Ride. 183 

He gave a salam worthy of a prince twice his age, and 
courteously asked where we were going and whether we would 
not turn aside and " eat bread " in his father's house. We 
thanked him aod said we had five hours further to ride, with 
only three more hours of daylight, and must hasten on. Half 
way across the valley we stopped to refresh ourselves with 
grapes and biscuits at a spring, and then made the best of our 
way up the road that led through maize and cotton fields into 
the pass. The beauty of the place tempted us to linger in 
spite of the late hour ; and as we reached the top of the pass 
and entered the gorge that leads down towards the river the 
tops of the eastern hills glowed for a few minutes a gorgeous 
piuk, and the sun went down suddenly, as it always does in a 
south country, and especially among the mountains. 

We now discovered our guide to be useless; for he had 
very bad sight, and the road was not clear. It grew darker, 
and no moon rose ; while all we had to comfort us was the 
dismal moaning of the old man, " Dark, dark,'* and calling on 
the Prophet to help him. All I could do was gently to remind 
him with my whip, that these noises suited neither time nor 
place, in which it might be dangerous to attract attention ; 
then, finding him hopeless, I dismounted, and setting him on 
my mare, led her for the remaining two hours. Over rocks 
and by a torrent, quite bad enough by day, but positively 
terrifying by night, and down a gorge that seemed to our 
fancy haunted by brigands, Yakob and I plodded along, with 
nothing but the stars to guide us, leading our respective 
beasts, and wishing it were day. Yakob was in a great fright, 
although, being both armed, we were probably in little danger, 
especially considering that we had passed two caravans 
making a night journey to Midhiat, and that no one knew 
that we were on the road. However, I cannot conceive how 
we ever found the way among the confusion of rocks and 
multitude of cross paths. The numerous streams and the 
larger torrent were our chief danger, and more than once 
we had narrow escapes over slippery boulders, and on the 
edges of deep pools. 

The perfect stillness among these mountains, broken only by 

184 ■Hasan Kaf. 

the footsteps of our horses and the sound of falling water ; 
the great naked rocks and ragged trees ; everything filled us, 
ignorant as we were of people and country, with a certain awe, 
and we were heartily thankful to hear the barking of dogs 
and bleating of sheep, never before so grateful, which told us 
we were not far from human habitations, perhaps the town. 
Soon we reached a number of caves on each side of the ravine, 
where were flocks of sheep, and hundreds, it seemed, of dogs, 
almost more terrifying than the rocks we had left; then 
further on a straggling line of low-roofed houses by the water, 
and as the pass grew broader rows of houses, one built above 
another, half caves, half fortresses, upon the perpendicular 
face of rock on either side. We went on until a Moslem 
directed us to the house of the head man of the Christians, an 
^LTmenian, who we had been told would give us lodginp*. 
However, he was in bed, so, after climbing up a winding path 
cut in the face of the rock, we descended to the house of the 
Congregational teacher, who met us on the way, and offered 
all the hospitality his house could afford. He had only lately 
come from the American high -school at Mardin, where I had 
known him ; and he was most anxious to do anything he 
could for a friend of the Americans. It was too late to get 
any provisions, even water, every drop of which has to be 
fetched from the river, or oats and chopped straw for the 
horses. This was worst of all, for they had had a hard day 
and we had brought very little with us. We were able to 
content ourselves with cake and melon, and soon fell asleep 
upon the platform just outside the house. Yakob spent some 
time in praising God for our deliverance, and asking many 
questions about the scorpions, of which a very deadly species 
abounds in Hasan Kaf. Their season was fortunately over, 
so he slept in peace. 

We rose early next morning, partly to obtain food for 
the horses, and partly because the cocks, and dogs, and 
donkeys drove away sleep. Never did I see such a curious 
town, built all up the sides of the two perpendicular faces of 
rocks which flank the gorge as it comes down to the river, on 
which the sunlight was gleaming. Down by the shores were 

Hasan Kaf, 185 

many houses of the Moslems, and among them two minarets, 
one very beautiful, and the other half ruined and crowned by 
a great stork's nest. Near the latter were the remains of one 
of those magnificent Saracenic bridges that the Turks have 
allowed to fall to ruins, and on the other side a little Moslem 
shrine, brilliant with blue Persian tiles inscribed with legends 
from the Koran, but this, too, a ruin. The river at this time of 
the year was fairly shallow, and could be forded about a hundred 
yards above the bridge ; but in winter, when the rains begin, 
it soon swells, and in the summer when the snow comes down 
is often flooded ; and then " kelleks,'* or rafts of wood floated 
upon inflated skins, ply from side to side, and run from Hasan 
Kaf down to Mosul or Baghdad. Just below the ferry is a 
spring under the bank of the river, and from here is drawn all 
the drinking water, and carried up to the town by strings of 
donkeys. Of the houses, built like puffins' nests along the 
cliffs, that in which we lodged was a good specimen. Three 
rooms were carved out of the soft rock, and a front wall 
made partly of the rock itself, partly built up with rubble 
composite. In front of this ran a platform, on which two 
small rooms were built, and a '^gate-house,'' so common in 
the East, in which to keep guard in times of danger, and 
put the horses at night. Before long the Armenian, to 
whom we had brought an introduction, came to call upon us, 
and ask what he could do for us the next night, and whether 
we should care to see the castle and the old fortifications. 
The castle was on the top of the north-west rock, and com- 
manded the river and the approach to the town along its 
southern shore. On that side the fortifications were of 
immense strength, but all in ruins, and approached only by 
a narrow path up a bare face of clifF. There was, too, a 
curious little church built in the cliff, and accessible from the 
path below only by a ladder. 

Taking a good stock of grapes to eat by the way, we started 
shortly before mid-day, and, having crossed the river, made 
our way along its northern bank towards the western pass 
through the mountains that divide it from the plain of Bisheri. 
We were forced by the insecurity of the nearer pass across the 

Hasan Kaf to Bisheri. Sept. lO. 

mouDtaiiis, due to the numher of Knrda living amongst them, 
to take the western caravan road, nearly double the distance ; 
and it was four hours before we emerged from the bills and 
saw before ua the plain, at the north-east end of which atood 
the monastery of Mar Quriaqos. At every village the people 
were busy bringing in the corti, and the threshing-floors 
everywhere were full of brilliant groups of men and women. 
Two hours before aunaet we passed the last of these, and as 

we rode towards the monastery through the long grass, dis- 
turbed a large flock of wild turkeys. A few minutes more 
and we were under the walls of the grim old " Deir," and 
soon settled in a comfortable diwan, sipping excellent coffee. 
It was Saturday evening, and families were flocking in from 
the villages to spend the night and attend the early service in 
the church. Among these was the " Agha " of the district. 

A Kurdish Agha. 187 

whom we had met^ attended by half a dozen of his Kurds^ all 
armed with Martini-Henry rifles, stolen from the Government, 
jast leaving the Deir. He had been told by the Bishop of 
Deir-el-Za^aferan, who was staying in Bisheri, that I was 
coming and that I had a photographic camera, and being of 
all aghas the most conceited, was wild with desire to see his 
own portrait. When I said that I was too tired to take his 
photograph that evening, that the next day was Sunday, and 
that on Monday I was going on a visit to a village to the 
north, he replied that all that was nothing, and that either I 
must photograph him or he would unwillingly shoot me. 
After a fitting display of dignity, I therefore agreed to take 
his portrait, thinking it would be better to have this warlike 
person as a friend while in his territory, and promised to send 
him a copy. 

It seemed a necessary precaution for him and his men to be 
well armed, on account of the feuds that are continually raged 
between the Kurds. This very man's father and brother 
were at the time lying in prison at Diarbekr in consequence 
of the bloody termination of a marauding expedition against 
the mountain villages by the river, in which they had played 
too conspicuous a part. Our friend Ali Agha should have 
been in prison too, said the Bishop afterwards, for though in 
some ways a good enough man, he had only killed eighteen 
men, chiefly harmless Armenians, who had been pressed into 
his rival's service during the last raid. He was a handsome 
man, and protected the Christian villages in his district in 
return for tithes of com and service in times of war; and 
would, like the rest of his class, make a valuable ally to a 
Government that knew how to treat him. 

188. Deir Mar Quriciqos. 


B18HEB1 AND Northern Jebel Tur. 

" Thy shepherds slumber, O King of Assyria ; thy nobles shall dwell 
in the dust ; thy people is scattered upon the mountains, and no man 
gathereth them." — Nahux. 

The monastery, in which we spent Sunday as quietly as the 
continual influx of visitors would allow, was dedicated to 
Mar Quriaqos, a boy who, with his mother Diuliti, suffered 
martyrdom during the Persian persecutions of the fourth 
century.* It was a large building, dating apparently from 
about the eleventh century, and, having fallen partly to ruin, 
was restored by the efforts of a monk, the last head of the 
monastery. The church and " house of the Saints,'^ as tbey 
call the burial chapel of the bishops, were fine specimens of 
the same style as the church at Salah, and occupying 
exactly the same position in the monastery as those at Deir- 
el-Za'aferan. Its inhabitants consisted of three monks, and 
a priest, besides half-a-dozen deacons and servants. Among 
these was a blind deacon, reputed to be a great scholar, 
who held a small school of boys from the neighbouring 
villages, and taught them Syriac and Arabic. Kurdish was 
the language spoken here, as through most of Bisheri ; but 
Arabic was generally learned as a second language and a 
means of communication with strangers, for no educated man 
in Southern Turkey is ignorant of it. The monastery forms 

* His festival is on Jnly 15 in the East, and June 16 in the West. Buinart, 
in his " Acta Martyrum Sincera " (p. 477), says that S. Oirycus and Julitta died 
at Tarsus about 305 a.d. Maolean and Browne, p. 350. 

A Village of Bisheri, 189 

also the headquarters of the neighbouring Syrian villages, 
whose inhabitants congregate there on Sunday morning and 
pay their tithes to the Patriarch through its head. 

After the morning service in the church, my room, the 
large diwan or guest-room of the monastery, was crowded 
with visitors anxious to see how Yakob and I ate, and 
slept, and drank our coffee. This continual visiting, which 
is so marked a feature of Eastern life, makes one long for 
the inside rooms and privacy of a European house, where 
one is not at the mercy of every unoccupied person who 
chooses to intrude himself for two or three hours. Of 
course, after a time one takes no notice of these impor- 
tunate people, unless they have some business or come 
really out of politeness. But to be continually watched 
is most unpleasant, and it takes a long time and much 
patience to get accustomed to the inevitable.* I tried 
going to sleep; the inquisitors snored too. I tried rude- 
ness; they thought me mad. I walked about; they began 
to examine my things, until at last I dared the extreme 
step of walking out, and, when they had all come out and 
dispersed, returned with Yakob and locked the door. I 
thus procured a little time to read and write until lunch time, 
after which I had promised the chief man of a village just 
across the plain, who had come to pay me a visit, to ride out 
with him and see his people and a fine new church that they 
had newly built. It was one of the many built or restored 
during the last thirty years, which have seen more work of 
this kind than several hundred years previous. It has been 
already mentioned that the raising of belfries and crosses 
upon churches is one among many signs of increasing 
toleration of the native Christians by the Turkish Government 
during the last fifty years. The new churches are witnesses 
to the same fact ; and to evade the law against erecting new 
buildings without the trouble of obtaining the necessary leave 
by means of much bakhshish and red tape, the Christians 

* See Burton, " Pilg^maf^e to Meccah," i. 36, who mentions some reasons why 
oontinual society is as dear to the Eastern as it is hateful to the English. 

190 A New Syrian Church, 

often rebuild a ruin, and meet their requirements by adding 
largely to it in the process. Bad though the actual ardmini- 
stration of good Turkish law is in the provinces, and though 
complaints are frequent against Turk and Kurd, especially 
against the Turk, for doing nothing to restrain the lawlessness 
of the Kurd ; and though to these are now added constant 
outcries against the tax-farming syndicates, rich men of the 
towns, and often Christians, who squeeze the villages in order 
to leave a good margin between their receipts and the amount 
guaranteed to the Government ; yet things are a hundred 
times better than they must have been fifty years ago. 
Kurdish raids are less frequent, and appeals less often in vain, 
while the flourishing Christian villages of Jebel Tur and 
Bisheri, compared with the dirty, thriftless settlements of 
Kurds or Arabs in the same places, show that things are 
changing, and give good promise for the future.* 

The church of Keferzo, standing on the top of a high 
mound in the centre of the village, was a fine building, equal 
in every way, taking the standard of house architecture into 
account, to many of our village churches of England. It has, 
too, in the matter of light, a great advantage over most of 
the Syrian churches, there being less need now of precaution 
against attack ; although it is not unusual, even in places 
where no such precaution is necessary, to maintain the 
practice of building the windows high and small, especially in 
the sanctuary, thus fostering the idea of mystery so dear to 
Oriental minds. At the west end were some grain and boxes, 
stored there, as frequently, for safety, containing among other 
things the tithe due to the Patriarch. To the east of this 
space, where the women stand or sit, the church is divided 
into a nave and two aisles, separated by two rows of marble 
pillars. The sanctuary is, contrary to the usual plan, not 
divided into three chambers, but the three altars stand in one 

* Lest this should seem to contradiot what has elsewhere been said, it is 
necessary to bear in mind that improvement lies in the general toleration of later 
years, as well as that in the past few years we have seen the development of 
several causes, temporary and local, which have increased the severity of the 
Turks towards their Christian subjects. 


A New Syrian Church. 191 

large open space^ a dome covering the centre one, while the 
walls are decorated with considerable taste in the black and 
white Arabesque designs common in this part of the country. 

The people had determined to do their best with their 
church, and had contributed liberally with money and labour, 
much of which was freely given to the building. ^ They had, 
with unusual energy, quarried for the doors and pillars some 
rough white marble, which had been found about two miles 
from the village, so that the whole church presented an 
appearance of great solidity. Numerous coloured prints of 
wretched French and Russian manufacture adorned the walls, 
much to the offence of the straiter of the Syrians, to whom 
such things savour of idolatry ; and to the side of the 
sanctuary door was a beautiful piece of cyanite built into the 
wall, which every Sunday morning, the priest told me, exudes 

Two priests lived in the village, to perform the daily 
services, supplementing their meagre stipends by weaving, 
and labouring in the fields. When I asked the most 
intelligent of them, why he had no school for the children, he 
replied indignantly, "Am I a deacon, that I should teach 
letters ? " I said something of a greater Teacher, who 
thought no service of man too mean ; and he thought that he 
might do something in the winter, if the boys could be spared 
from their work. After a few minutes spent in trying to read 
some of the ancient inscriptions upon the tombs, we turned 
down the path to the house of our host. 

There we found a party of village magnates sitting as 
they sit in English hamlets of a Sunday afternoon, with 
cigarettes to inspire the discussion of harvest prospects. Thev 
all rose at the approach of a stranger, and made room in the 
broad gateway, where they sat. There was, however, a 
constraint upon them, for just opposite me sat an oflBcial sent 
from Saert to superintend the gathering in of the harvest, 
and see that the interests of a paternal Government did not 
suffer. Although he was a miserable specimen even of a 
Government clerk, none dared utter a single unweighed word 
while he was by, and I had to put a strait guard upon myself. 

192 Hcuf-has, A Syrian Country Gentleman. 

for an unwise word might seriously have damaged my hosts. 
After coffee had been served, and a basket of very fine grapes, 
we rose to go, and with much salaming, and many polite 
speeches, were accompanied to our horses, that had been eating 
quietly in the court. It was, as usual, a sad thing to say 
good-bye to the village, and feel how little one could help 
them. The grapes we had eaten came from the only garden 
within miles ; for the fear of the Kurds prevents the people 
from planting the vines, unless, as at Keferzo, they are in 
numbers suflScient to protect them. 

Next day we had settled to ride to the village of Has-has, 
that lay about four hours north of the monastery, in order to 
visit a Syrian, a rather wealthy man, who had chosen, the 
rarest of all things in this country, to live in an obscure 
village among his tenants and workpeople. The advantage to 
the villagers was evident, for they had to live amongst them 
one of their own creed and nation, whose interests are the 
same with theirs, and who could protect them, not only from 
the surrounding Kurds, but also from official exactions. One 
must admit that such a life as he leads cannot but be exceed- 
ingly dull, with no company but his family, two priests, one of 
whom is a tutor to his boys, and the Bishop when he comes 
on one of his rare visits. 

When we arrived at the end of our rido, we found no one 
in the gate of the house, for the master was out looking after 
the threshing, except a most villainous-looking Kurd, who lay 
asleep upon the raised recess waiting for the mid-day meal. 
This is a meal of which every traveller has a right to partake ; 
but the obligation to keep open house in this way is a 
considerable tax, which must be patiently borne, especially 
when officials are in question. The latter, being often 
some months in arrear with their pay, generally adopt this 
method of getting a meal for themselves and their servants, 
and gain not a little in the matter of tobacco besides. Food, 
however, is cheap in these parts ; nor have time or privacy 
any marketable value in the East. But there is one decided 
disadvantage in the fact that your guest may at any time 
prove an informer, and lay to heart the utterances of 

HaJt-has, A Syrian Country Oentleman, 193 

unguarded moments. Shammas Efrem did not keep us long 
waiting, but soon came in, like Boaz, from the threshing, and, 
sitting in the gate, asked whether his men had brought us 
coffee and water, with whatever else we required. After him 
came a boy, his brother^s son, handsomely dressed in the country 
fashion, with long white tunic and rich belt, in which was 
placed a splendid silver-mounted dagger. Next came the 
boy's father, a dark-looking man, who had quarrelled with 
his brother. Some difference had arisen, and the younger 
was soon to leave the village and take with him half the 
property to another house. It was strange how often I found 
the house divided against itself, the younger against the elder, 
in this manner, with very sad results to the peace and 
prosperity of the people. It is, no doubt, partly due to the 
custom that the sons remain after marriage in the house of 
their father, and jealousy is bred if one succeeds better than 
another ; or sons are born to one, and not another ; or 
perhaps there is a quarrel over the division of the property. 
The state of the country was clearly shown by the number of 
swords and daggers, and antiquated guns, that hung upon 
the walls, so that it all seemed like a vision of the Scottish 
Border three hundred years ago. Our meal in the spacious 
gateway was shared by the Kurd, an oflScial with his servant, 
who ate apart, a pleasant and refined monk from Deir-el- 
Za'aferan, whom I had not previously met, and three priests, 
two Syrian, and one an Armenian, the last suffering terribly 
from ophthalmia. The Kurd was the wickedest-looking man I 
ever saw, and quite revelled with delight when he saw my 
revolver. I took the precaution to remove the cartridges 
before handing it to him, and wisely, for he kept pointing it 
at mv face in the most absent-minded manner. Shammas 
Efrem casually mentioned afterwards that he was hiown to 
have committed thirty murders ; the full tale would, of course, 
be far more. The monk was living in the village as tutor to the 
boys of the house, teaching them Syriac and Arabic, together 
with Bible history and the elements of their Church's faith. 

After tlie simple meal wa« over, Shammas Efrem asked us 
to come into the house and talk over the matters concerning 


194 HaS'has, A Syrian Country Gentleman, 

his people, which has caused my visit. It was a good house, 
with well-glazed windows, and built more in the European 
style, with rooms opening into a passage instead of the court- 
yard. We had not, however, much time to talk, as the 
Armenian priest seemed to have divined the presence of 
grapes within doors, and made his way up to the pleasant 
little room where we sat. Before we left the room, Efrem 
gave me a large present of tobacco grown upon his property, 
and said to be of the finest quality in Turkey, selling for 
about twelve shillings a pound in Constantinople, free of duty. 
As I had myself no use for it, I took it back to Mardin, 
where I presented it to my old friend, Abu Selim. Before 
leaving the village, however, Efrem insisted that we should 
see the church, a plain building, plastered outside with mud, 
but displaying inside a good deal of stone. It was well 
roofed with timber, while at the east end was some small 
attempt at decoration with cheap wall papers, and the whole 
was kept most scrupulously clean. Efrem took immense 
pride in the church, which he maintained at his own expense. 
Of the school he could not speak so well. The people had so 
much work, and could so ill spare their children, even in the 
winter, to learn that which seemed to them of little value ; 
and, although he had built a good room, and paid the 
wages of a capable teacher, very few boys would come 
regularly beside his own. However, as soon as the press 
of harvest work was done, he hoped, with the Rahab's 
aid, to start again with greater success. It was noticeable, 
considering that this village was so far from any town, 
to find so much zeal to obtain teaching for the Syrian 

Two small boys had accompanied us from the "deir,'' as 
guides ; and, as the distance we had come was about sixteen 
miles, it was out of the question that they should return on 
their own legs. So with one mounted behind me, and the 
other behind Yakob, we started for the monastery with three 
hours of daylight before us. The way lay over parched hills, 
and the dry beds of winter streams, to the south of the great 
Kurdish mountains, where even in the height of summer the 

HaS'has, A Synan Country Oentleman, 195 

villagers light a fire in their cottages ; and back we rode 
towards the Redwan river that cut us off from the plain of 
Bisheri. On the mud banks in the middle of the stream 
grew great water melons ; and as we crossed we met the 
priest of a neighbouring village loading his donkey with two 
of the largest. He asked us to wait, and go home with him ; 
but it was too late, and he rode far too slowly. As it became 
darker, the boy who rode behind me began to sing some of 
the songs of Mar Ef rem ; and soon a rival strain was heard 
from his companion behind, who was a little older, in the 
cracking stage, and very untuneful to listen to. Before long, 
however, their store of sacred song was exhausted, and was 
exchanged for a Kurdish duet, a contest of lung power. 
Every now and then a pause, followed by a rush of air past 
my ear, and a sound like the cracking of thorns in the boy's 
throat made me aware that he was about to burst out again 
into song. Off started my mare in fair surprise, at which the 
boy screamed all the louder, and dug his bare heels into her 
unoffending sides, clinging with all his might to my coat. 
The burden of the song was the love these two small boys 
had one for the other, interspersed with the recital of loui^ 
prose intervals, which told how little " Geriko *' played with 
foxes, hunted hares, and bearded the village Agha. The 
singing, which lasted until we reached the " deir,'' set up a 
furious barking among the sheep dogs ; for it was some time 
after dark, and the monks, having prepared an excellent 
supper for us, were walking on the roof, wondering whether 
we had been lost upon the way. 

Early next morning we awoke to find the Bishop of Deir-el- 
Za'aferan had returned from his tour among the villages with 
a priest, the head of the deir. This man was quite young, 
and according to the Eastern custom, which, putting a literal 
interpretation upon the words of S. Paul, forbids priests to 
marry again, was condemned to a perpetual widowhood by the 
death of his wife only a few months after his marriage. He 
seemed a most excellent and devout man, keeping the monas- 
tery in admirable order, and entering very eagerly into the 
proposed scheme of forwarding education. A permanently 

o 2 

196 The Agha^s Photograph. 

stiff knee gave him an awkward limp, and prevented him from 
sitting in the approved Turkish fashion. 

The first question he asked of the monks was, what kind of 
supper they had given me. When they said that grapes and 
the fattest capons had been laid before me, " Why ! " he said, 
" was he not worthy of two sheep ? Kill two for this evening's 
supper." Accordingly two were slain with considerable 
ceremony in the court below, the Bishop meanwhile complain- 
ing with a lau^h that he had not been thought worthy of two 
sheep, and was heartily tired of eggs, leben, and bruised meal; 
although the peaceful freedom of the place outbalanced a 
good many disadvantages in the way of diet. 

About the middle of the morning we caught sight of the 
Agha and his men, decked out in their smartest clothes, riding 
from his village across the plain, to have his photograph 
taken. There was considerable trepidation among the 
deacons, lest he should smell the blood of the sheep and 
insist upon carrying one off for his own supper. When he 
had arrived, and ^vas sitting in the diwan, it was most 
amusing to hear the way in which the Bishop half humoured 
him, half treated him as an inferior. It appeared the Agha 
had a great respect for the Bishop, who kept their 
acquaintance smooth by small presents of barley and other 
produce, and had enabled him to have a picture taken. The 
photograph occupied a long time, as the Agha was not easily 
satisfied with his own appearance, and was most anxious that 
nothing belonging to him, even down to his cigarette, should 
be omitted. The whole business was however successfully 
completed, and after a little more polite conversation the 
Agha bade his men let off their guns into the air by way 
of making an impression, and rode away. 

A quiet afternoon ended in a stroll in the garden, where 
melons and pumpkins grew, and thence to the threshing floor 
to see a huge snake which the watchman had killed the 
evening before upon his bed. Such incidents as these form 
the chief topics of conversation in quiet places like the 
monastery, unless there has been a raid of police or Kurds to 
vary the monotony. Towards evening the excitement in the 


Bwheri to Difne. Sept, 14. 197 

deir grew intense over the final roasting and dishing up of 
the sheep; for it was months since a visitor had arrived 
whose position demanded such a slaughter; and the deacons 
and servants had fasted all day in preparation for the feast. 
We ate our portion of the beasts sitting on the great bed upon 
the roof, in which the Bishop slept; and when it was finished 
and we had eaten our fill of grapes and melon, we sat smoking, 
and listening to the progress of a bargain, to wit, the exchange 
of six fat sheep for one of the monastic horses, which two 
travellers on their way to Mardin wished to compass. A. 
warm discussion between them and the head of the deir 
ended in nothing, although it lasted two hours and cost thirty 

The change of air and life, combined with freedom from the 
intrigue which is generally attached to life in an Eastern 
town, no less than the simple hospitality of the people and 
the beauty of the country, made these days some of the 
pleasantest I spent in Turkey. But like all good things they 
came to an end, and early the next morning we were ready to 
start on our way back to Midhiat, accompanied by a deacon, 
an old man, but one who knew the country well and was 
accustomed to travelling. We returned to Hasan Kaf and 
the Tigris by a mountain path, shorter than that by which we 
had come, but still three hours longer than the Kurd's way, 
which was still more impassable from the Bisheri side than 
from the Tigris, owing to the deadly feud existing between 
the Agha of our acquaintance and the one who ruled the hill 
country. Even though there was not much danger for us as 
strangers, if we could have found the way, yet our guide, 
belonging as he did, to the faction of the plain, would almost 
certainly have met his death ; nor would Ali Agha have dared 
to venture his head into the noose always ready for him, as 
soon as he passed the last village of the plain. 

Our road was very dry and rocky until we reached the 
Tigris, along the north shore of which we rode for two hours, 
until we came to Hasan Kaf. Crossing the river we nearly 
got into deep water, as Yakob's horse got excited, but the 
only result was a wetting for the load, by which the remains 

198 Deir^eUMokhr, 

ol my Kurd-enticing knives and scissors were ruined. How- 
ever, we pushed on to Deir-el-Mpkhr, where we were to spend 
the night, a miserable and dirty building in a valley leading 
down to the Tigris on the south side. There was no one in 
the place except an ignorant '^ rahab," with a shepherd and 
his family. The rahab was full of talk, and asked many 
questions about England, which he had visited long ago with 
his great-uncle, the Patriarch, recalling all kinds of curious 
little incidents, which one would not think to have made much 
impression upon him. Before we had time to unpack our 
things — which the monk immediately deposited, much against 
our wish, at the back of the church, as the only place having 
a lock to it — we were surrounded by people praying for eye- 
lotions and quinine, for the place was rather malarious, and 
here, as elsewhere, the dirtj- habits of the people encouraged 
affections of the eyes. The monk, too, was suffering from 
dropsy ; and the only answer I could get to an inquiry about 
its origin was that it came from God. I told him that all 
things came from God, and asked him the more immediate 
cause, and what he did for himself. He repeated his answer, 
and then seeming surprised that anyone should take any 
interest in his condition, stopped a minute, and, entering into 
all the symptoms of his disease, asked me what I could do for 
him. My conscience rather smote me for having shaken his 
former notion (Mohammedan though it was), when I could 
do so little for him, beyond advising him to seek the doctor's 
aid at Mardin. 

The sore eyes and fever were more within the range of 
my medical skill ; but I gained little reputation by my answers 
to the rahab, if I had also little to lose. The rahab combined 
with his inquisitiveness on all matters English a considerable 
taste for horseflesh, and had in the court below a very beauti- 
ful mare and foal, which he, of course, immediately offered to 
exchange with my unattractive hack, as soon as my admiration 
was expressed. This was merelj- a form ; and we proceeded 
to eat our supper and prepare our beds for sleeping upon the 
roof; aud there the barking of dogs and the chatter of the 
men soon lulled us to rest. 

Deir-el'Mokhr to Deir-es-Salib. Sept. 15. 199 

Tliis monastery, like most others, was beautifully situated 
on rich land, and well supplied with water from the mountains 
to the south and the river to the north ; but land and 
buildings, for one reason or another, now all lay waste. 

With a long day's ride before us, we rose early and started 
with the shepherd, armed with a rifle, to guide us to Yardi, a 
village half way to the next monastery. The road was as bad 
as it could be, up a long pass, in winter a torrent, and even at 
the end of summer requiring care to avoid slipping on the wet 
rocks. As soon as we left Difne, where the slopes of the 
Tigris end, high rocks, covered thick with tangled vegetation, 
shut in the view, and there was little variation until we reached 
the open mountains to the south, and the great grape country, 
which stretches all along the north and west of Jebel Tur. 
The grapes here were very fine, and, as travellers, we could 
always have as many as we wished merely for the asking, or 
even pick them ourselves. The long climb up the pass had 
been very trying for the horses ; and Yakob's animal, being 
more heavily loaded than mine, had, just before we reached 
the top of the hill that leads to Yardi, succumbed at a critical 
corner, and lay there helpless, until the loads had all been 
taken off and our united efforts had got him up again. 
Beaching Yardi half an hour after, we gave the animals a rest 
and sat in the house of the chief Syrian, waiting until a guide 
could be found for the remainder of our journey. Yardi 
seemed a flourishing village, inhabited by about equal num- 
bers of Moslems and Syrians, among whom a native agent of 
the American missions was engaged in evangelistic work and 
held a successful school. On a height above the village was 
a castle, built years ago by some Kurdish chief, and now a 
ruin ; but it formed a very picturesque object behiud the 
houses down below. 

Scarcely had we left the vineyards of Yardi before we met 
six most forbidding-looking ruffians, on their way to their 
own village of Arnas, and all armed with long rifles. Our 
guide was terrified, being a feeble little man ; and, haviug 
lied to them as to the direction in which we were going, 
altered our course, and took us down a valley that led by a 

200 Deir-eS'Salih, 

short cut to the monastery, in ease the men should make up their 
minds to follow us. The inevitable result was that we lost 
our way, and wandered two hours in aimless dependence on 
the instinct of our guide. When I indignantly asked why he 
lost his way when only three miles from his native village, he 
looked up and shouted, with the usual expletives, that if we 
arrived that evening, we should arrive; if not, then God is 
Great ! We were also haunted by the suspicion that we were 
pursued, continually imagining groups of wild brigands, with 
guns and white tunics glancing in the sun, attracted by the 
white umbrella which Yakob, in spite of his terror, would not 
put down. Nevertheless, after a breakneck ride of a few 
hours up and down hills and valleys covered with dwarf oak 
shrubs and rocks, we reached the village of Harmuis, and 
saw the monastery lying peacefully among the vineyards 
down below. It was one of the longest and most tiring days 
that I had ever spent, and I was glad to reach the deir, 
although of all places in Turkey this was the most filthy. It 
was a large building still in good repair ; but, instead of 
retaining its original character as a school of discipline and 
learning, it had become the secure refuge of about twenty 
Syrian families and their flocks, who pay for the lodging a 
nominal rent to the Patriarch. A priest had his home among 
them, but, much to my disappointment, was absent at the 
time, so that I missed the chief object of my visit, which had 
been to see a small collection of manuscripts which were kept 
in the church. All my entreaties, however, could not per- 
suade the people to bring out the books ; they stoutly denied 
that there were any books in the place, although it was only 
the absence of the priest that made them do so. As a rule, 
by never allowing it to be suspected that I wished to buy 
any property belonging to the churches, I was enabled to see 
more than would have otherwise been possible ; for, thanks 
to the ravages of museum agents and others, the people are 
exceedingly cautious in displaying anything of value that 
they possess. In addition to this, the solemn curse of the 
Patriarch has been uttered against anyone who shall sell or 
give away any property of the Syrian Church. Upon my first 


Deir-es^Salih, 201 

visit to Midhiat I was repeatedly assured that there were no 
old books except two colossal copies of the Gospels, which 
were shown with great apparent pride, although I knew 
positively that there were several books of much greater 
interest and value, which 1 was on my return allowed to see. 

The monastery had once been a great seat of learning, and 
the home of Bar HebreBus and Bar Saliba,* two doctors 
and saints of the Svrian Church. All round the monasterv 
the country seemed to be dedicated to the memory of Saliba 
and one Malik Hanna, apparently the Emperor John Zimesces, 
whose conquests extended over many parts of Mesopotamia, 
and by whose names castles and churches are continually 

After wandering with difficulty, owing to the crowd of 
animals and filthy condition of the place, round the deir, 
we at length hit upon a secluded roof where we might deposit 
our goods without danger of scorpions or too much company, 
and from which we could easily watch our horses. But 
before long there arrived a messenger from a Kurdish Agha 
who, with thirty of his men, was spending the night upon 
another part of the roof, inviting us to do him the honour of 
a visit. This was, of course, a mere summons for inspection, 
which we thought it wise to obey, but at our leisure. After 
feeding the horses, and getting our things settled for the 
night, we left our guide in charge, and walked round the 
dirty yard to call upon the great man. There were a great 
number of Government rifles piled on oue side of the roof, and 
in the middle a temporary diwan laid out with carpets, round 
which cigarettes and grapes were being circulated. At the 
head s:it the Agha, a humane, polite-looking man for a Kurd, 
and badly supplied, it seemed, with pistols, inasmuch as he 
was anxious to exchange a handsome horse for my revolver. 
This was, of course, promptly refused. Even had the offer 
been seriously made, I should have lost by the transaction 
both revolver and horse, for he would most certainly have 

* Dionysioa Bar Saliba wrote a treatise on bells, and flourished in the twelfth 

202 Deir-es-SaUL 

stolen back the latter the next day. I asked a few questions, 
and answered as many as were not too personal — for these 
Kurds are nothing if not personal — and then retired, pro- 
mising to take his photograph in the morning with the 
camera that had so excited his curiosity upon my arrival. 
Then we dined as well as we could on bread and milk and 
sugar, for soup was out of the question on account of the 
foulness of the water, which even our horses refused to drink. 

Next morning, anxious though we were ta leave the place, 
our departure was delayed by the eagerness of the Kurds to 
see my camera, and be photographed. But at last we got on 
our way, accompanied by an old man from the Agha's 
servants, who secured for us plentiful supplies of gi'apes, and 
guided us to the village of Hakh. We had not gone far 
before a boy came running out of a vineyard, bearing a stick 
upon which hung half-a-dozen bunches of the very finest 
grapes, and begged for a little medicine to cure his father's 
eyes. The old man was nearly blind ; but, although I knew 
I could do little good, I promised to send back the best 
medicine I had by our guide ; and the boy, seizing my hand, 
kissed it and covered it with tears, so that 1 had not the heart 
to tell him that cure was not what I hoped for, but only 
nlleviation of the pain. 

Three hours brought us to Hakh, now a small village 
inhabited by Kurds and Christians, but the signs of whose 
former greatness remained in the ruins of twenty or more 
churches. One only had escaped ruin, owing partly, no doubt, 
to the reverence obtaining, even among Moslems, for the three 
kings to whose memory, or, as some say, by whom it was built. 
It was disappointing to find the church so dark that it was 
impossible to take any photographs ; nor was there suflBcient 
time to make any drawings. We found a most excellent, but 
ignorant old rahab, busy boiling '' dibbiz " in the court, 
while strings of gigantic youths and boys brought in loads of 
common grapes to boil or dry for raisins. The old man was a 
little put out by our arrival, but was far too proud of his 
beautiful church not to do the part of an excellent host and 
cicerone. While some eggs were frying, he told us numerous 

Hakh, 203 

legends of wonderful things that had happened at Hakh, in 
the time of the wise men, and Malik Hanna, and the saints ; 
but he was suddenly cut short in the middle of his narration 
by the " dibbiz,'' which he had forgotten for a few moments 
to stir, boiling over the huge earthen cauldron in the comer 
of the court. There was a general stampede among the boys 
and young giants, who spent most of their time eating the 
grapes they were supposed to dry ; and after some vigorous 
.stirring with a ladle worthy of a Cyclops, the unwieldy mixture 
was again reduced to its normal temper. 

The freshly-dried raisins lay in heaps upon the floor of the 
portico, and the portion reserved for the Patriarch's tithe in 
the nave, the safest place in these wild villages. The first 
step after inspecting the church and eating our eggs, was to 
.secure a guide back to Midhiat ; but this was no easy task, 
owing to the feuds, not only between the Kurds, but also the 
Christians. Further difficulty was also caused by the fact 
that extra taxes had been levied in the last few months, and 
most of the inhabitants of Hakh, not having paid them, did 
not care to go too near a town in which Government officials 
were to be found. At last one of the young giants agreed to 
come with us, on condition that he might turn back as soon 
as we got within sight of Midhiat. He was a fine specimen of 
a mountain Syrian, tall and muscular, with a head like a 
crested eagle, as he wore his scarlet kafiyeh wound round his 
white skull cap with the ends stuck up like wings. A long 
linen shirt reaching to his ankles, cut on both sides from the 
knee downward and bound with a red scarf round the waist, 
formed his dress, which appeared still more scanty when girt 
up to the girdle for fast walking. He was at first lazy, a fact 
to which I inclined to attribute his reluctance to go as far as 
Midhiat ; but when at last, yielding to the request of the old 
rahab, he actually started with his long gun slung over his 
shoulder, even my mare had some difficulty in keeping up 
with his pace. 

He soon became talkative, and told us much of the moun- 
tain life ; how the very Agha whom we had just left had 
I'obbed a brother of his of a hundred sheep because he had 



helped a friend, belonging to territory that acknowledged tlie 
authority of a rival Agha, to pass through his district. Many 
a story he told of crime and oppression, until we reached the 
Agha's own village of Gaahtarik, and later on the larger village 
of Amas, Here was another beautiful church, which we had 
too little time to examine, although the architecture was most 

A Mount A1K Stbji 

interesting, and there were books of value in the church ; for 
we were already late, and this part of the country _Vaa one'of 
the least safe for travellers at night. So we pushed^'on ^past 
a pillar said to be the remains of a cross erected by 'the 
Empress Helena, until our guide left us by the ruined [monas- 

Hakh. 205 

tery of Hadad, assuring us that we were only twenty minutes 
on the straight road from Midhiat. We stumbled along, how- 
ever, for nearly an hour before we saw the lights of the town, 
and then made straight across country, regardless of rocks, 
and possible ravines, until we reached the monastery of Mar 
Abrahum, in which we had left the Qaimaqam, and after some 
diflSculty persuaded the suspicious old monks to admit us. 
We were thoroughly tired after our week of very rough 
travelling, and soon fell asleep under the stars, upon the roof 
of the quiet old deir. 


206 MidhmL 




Yakob and I had determined, for several reasons, to staj 
during this visit to Midhiat at the monastery just outside 
the town rather than in the house in which we had before 
spent a night, partly for the sake of obtaining a little 
seclusion, and partly because, among these mountain people, 
one is apt to miss small articles of use, if not of value. Such 
things as leather straps and knives seem to have a quite 
irresistible attraction for native fingers. There was another 
reason. Midhiat is not more free than other places from the 
factions that are the curse of Eastern subject races, as we 
soon discovered on inquiry of a house with which Yakob had 
some connections. My host, Aziz Hanna, had formerly 
represented the Syrians of the town in the government — that 
is, in the ^^ majlis,^' or town council — and it was maintained 
that his rival had supplanted him by bribery and libel. 
Hence a small eruption in the place, and continual displays 
of mutual jealousy. 

On Saturday morning we paid a visit to the Qaimaqam, 
who was still staying in the deir, and enjoying much 
better health, thanks to the excellent medicine which he had 
received. He was most affable, and professed great annoy- 
ance that we had not asked him for a zaptieh to accompany 
us to Bisheri, promising everything we could possibly wish for 
our journey to Mosul. He was as eloquent as ever on 
microbes and geography, and extremely interested to hear all 
that we had to say of our travels in the mountains. He then 
discoursed with great bitterness about the intrigues of a 
certain Papal Syrian Bishop, who, he said, was turning the 

Midhiat. 207 

whole place upside down, and lamented his inability to better 
the condition of Syrians and peaceful Kurds in the mountains. 
The Roman Catholics and the free-lance aghas were the 
curse of the country. I concluded my visit by mixing him 
another large bottle of fever ^' antisepteek," and then bade 
farewell in order to call upon our late host. There, however, 
we found ourselves little welcome, for the house was full of 
men discussing the means of dealing with the murder at Ain 
Wardah, and trying to comfort the old father. We therefore 
made only a short stay, and asked our friend, the Deacon, to 
take us to the bazar, and show us another monastery on the 
north side of the town. We sat in a stall in the bazar 
looking at coins and other antiquities, which the people 
brought for sale in large numbers, and then walked out past 
a large threshing floor to the monastery. It was in the 
process of rebuilding, and the monks, taking advantage of 
permission to restore the place, were considerably enlarging, 
and, in fact, building what constituted a new church. The 
walls were built out of the living rock to the height of a few 
feet, and higher up of well -cut square stones. The whole 
place was remarkably clean, and well built. When I 
suggested that it would suit admirably for a school, and 
asked why the people could afford to build so fine a church so 
far away from the town, but yet could not have even one 
good school in a town of over a thousand families, ^^ Well,'' 
said the Deacon, ^' our people do not know ; they have not 
got accustomed to know the value of schools yet. But it is a 
shame to leave an ancient church in ruins."* 

This seemed the actual truth ; and the most important thing 
when dealing wath these people, is to inculcate the value of 
true religious education, with a love of learning and dis- 
seminating the Faith of the Gospel. One only of the monks 

* Maclean and Browne, p. 304, say : " The Syrians look upon their churches 
with the greatest reverence, and the restoration of their village church is one of 
the very few things that will call forth their liberality. They are not at all 
utilitarian, and think it better to rebuild an old ruin in a place where there is 
not a single Syrian left, than to erect a new church in the middle of a large 
population." The words apply equally to the Syrians of Mesopotamia. 

208 Village Cerevionial. 

was at home, but was voted by the rest of the party too poor 
and miserable to sit upon the same carpet as such dignitaries, 
in spite of frequent invitations from Yakob and myself. 

A short walk about the field before the evening service, held 
in the open court of the church, and attended by the six 
priests of the town and several hundred people, ended the 
day's work ; nor were we sorry to retire for some rest in the 
room at the monastery, which the Qaimaqam had just vacated. 

The prospect of a quiet Sunday at the deir proved a 
delusive dream ; for scarcely had I left church after the 
morning celebration, than the Shammas arrived from Midhiat 
to warn me that the church committee and a large body of 
leading Syrians was about to pay me the honour of a state 
visit. I groMued in spirit, for I knew it meant that I must 
resign myself for the rest of the day. The good people soon 
beg-in to arrive, presenting the most intricate compliments 
and most insinuating bows, before they ranged themselves 
round the room with all the minute regard for rank and cere- 
monial that so horrifies the democratic American when first 
he leaves his native land. Last of all came a detachment of 
boys bearing a number of most excellent dishes ; for the 
people had rightly guessed that we should not be overfed in 
the deir, for the monks belonged to the straitest sect, and 
never went beyond the simple diet of bread and herbs and 
fruit (in consequence of which I was besieged by them for 
cures of liver complaints). 

Conversation began with a pressing invitation to take up my 
abode for ever at the church in Midhiat; but knowing that 
there I should be somewhat in the same condition as the 
Bengal tiger at the Zoo, I firmly but politely explained that I 
preferred to stay with the holy shades of Mar Abrahum and 
Mar Evgen, who long ago spent lives of unparalleled holiness 
upon two pillars near the church. I accepted gratefully, 
however, the kind invitation to take my meals in the village, 
in order to save the trouble of bringing all the food up to the 

For about four hours the large room of the deir was 
crowded with Syrians of all kinds, members of the Old Church 

Aji TnquimiiQU, 209 

and adherents of Papal and American missionaries. An 
unceasing fire of questions was maintained by the two latter, 
both being anxious to prove that in all things the position 
of the Church of England was one with that of the American 
missionaries. The members of the Old Church, being my 
hosts, refrained from the discussion, not only seeing the 
extreme bad taste of the inquisitors, but being already 
satisfied on all the points most disputed. It may be imagined 
that it was no easy matter in a mixed assembly to give such 
answers as, translated by a second-rate interpreter, might 
neither offend my interlocutors, nor compromise our Church's 
creed in the opinion of the Syrians. It cannot be too strongly 
insisted upon, that every Englishman travelling abroad, and 
especially in remote places, is to the people he meets England, 
and the English Churchman the English Church. To give 
some idea of the difficulties experienced in this way, the 
English Church was voted to be Protestant, that is, to agree 
with the Congregationalists, because it does not admit com- 
pulsory confession nor practise the use of oil in baptism, and 
because the priest administers the bread direct to the people, 
iu stead of first handing it to the deacon.* 

This discussion, which it was most difficult to stop, did little 
to edify anyone, and only set the people quarrelling over their 
distinctive tenets and theological subtleties, as Orientals are 
always so apt to do; a fact which makes strongly against 
proselytism here even more than elsewhere, and reminds one 
how important it is not to allow the theological form to 
obscure the religious reality. 

It was a great relief to get away in the evening to a quiet 
supper at the house of Naum Efendi, representative of the 
Syrians in the government, successor of Aziz Hanna, our 
former host, and therefore the unwilling head of one of the 
two factions in the village. The house was a great contrast to 
that of his rival ; it was a neat building within a clean and 
spacious courtyard, and it is scarcely necessary to add that the 

* I.e., the bread of the *' antidoron," not the bread of oommanion. My inter- 
locators oonfosed the two. 


210 Naum Efendi, 

better dinner vouched for the better manners of the host. 
The absence of sheep and cattle in and about the house was no 
less refreshing than the admirable young chickens and rice 
pudding, which is cooked to such perfection in Turkey. 
Yakob Bfendi had astonished me at the morning service at 
the deir by acting the rather noisy master of ceremonies, and 
directing the general conduct of affairs among the deacons 
and choir boys. He meant kindly, but made me exceedingly 
uncomfortable, when he placed me in the most prominent 
place in the church just before the sanctuary, considering 
that I should be offended if given a position of less dignity, 
and commanding a less complete and interesting view. 

We sat down to supper, a party of five — our host and a 
priest, his uncle, Yakob, myself, and a servant, a sort of 
Qawwas, who entertained us with the most amusing account 
of a voyage in an English ship from Constantinople to Spain, 
during which he saw many wonderful things, and, having lost 
his wig in the sea, returned, much to his own distress and his 
friends' amusement, with a new one of a totally different 
colour. Conversation ranged through all the topics proper to 
the occasion and finished with a very serious talk on the 
future of the Church, a subject on which the priest, an 
ignorant but open-minded, devout old man, talked with great 
zeal. As it grew late we returned to the monastery, accom- 
panied by four men with arms, so unsafe is the country, 
especially near a large village, at any time after dark. 

All through the following day similar hospitality had to be 
undergone in the committee room of the church in Midhiat. 
It was a big room, with a fine clock at one end, in which 
practically all business relating to the Syrian people of 
Midhiat, both civil and ecclesiastical, is transacted. Adjoining 
was the schoolroom, so that between the noise of children 
spelling out at the top of their voices the hymns of Mar 
Efrem from huge manuscripts of the fourteenth century to 
the deaf deacon who said he taught them, and the continuous 
attentions of the committee, there was little peace. Much of 
the time was passed in conversation upon the English Church, 
comparing her uses with those of the Syrians, and setting to 

Midhiat. 211 

right some misconceptions which remained in the minds of 
certain brethren after the discussions of the previous day. 
The minds of these people seemed, as usual, full of the 
importance of forms, but very dead to the facts and faiths 
which they symbolize. The number of psalms sung daily, 
and to what tune, the exact amount of oil used in baptism, the 
precise form of address in prayer, these were of all importance ; 
while the weightier matters of the law and life entered but 
little into their conceptions, if only a man lived honestly, 
providing well for his sons, and doing his obvious duty by his 
neighbours. Not that in the least the importance of form 
should be denied. Who knows but that God has preserved 
a large measure of these forms — even call them formalities — 
to serve as a protection through long seasons of trial and 
isolation, that the true Faith might be kept sure and unchang- 
ing by their means until the day dawn and a brighter season 

During the afternoon all the manuscripts belonging to 
the church were brought out, the people having satisfied 
themselves that I did not wish to buy or steal them, and, in 
consequence, admitting that they had previously lied when 
they said that they had no books beyond what I had already 
seen. One book at least was, if not of value, yet of consider- 
able interest, being a manuscript on parchment of the ninth 
century, containing a transliteration of the Greek Gospels in 
the Syriac letters. This use of different characters for a 
language is very common now ; but it was interesting to find 
it in vogue at such an early date. It is hardly necessary to 
say that the Syrians at Midhiat had no notion in what 
language the book was written. 

Two articles of great value and interest were also shown 
to me, being the property of Deir Mar Abrahum ; one, a cope, 
of a Persian woven design, some three hundred years old ; it 
was of silk, and covered with pictures of tigers and monkeys, 
camels and leopards, with garlands of flowers, and beautiful 
ladies looking sidelong out of lofty windows ; a piece of work 
than which it would be scarcely possible to imagine anything 
more exquisitely beautiful in colour, design, and workmanship. 

p 2 


212 Chv/rch Relics, 

The other treasure was a very ancient thurible, which the 
natives attribute to the time of S. James of Nisibis, whence it 
was said to have come. It was of bronze, and rudely sculp- 
tured with a representation of the nativity. 

Whilst we were examining these treasures, a Papal priest, 
sent by the Bishop at Mardin to make Midhiat his head- 
quarters for propagandist work in the mountains, entered to 
pay me a visit. He had received a note from the Bishop, and 
had been told to pay me all civility and at the same time keep 
an eye upon me. When quite a young man he had been taken 
from the mountains to be trained by the Jesuits at Beirut. 
He was not a pleasant, nor, I hope, a typical specimen of his 
class; comparatively well educated, and with intellectual 
tastes carefully encouraged, but most unscrupulous and in- 
sinuating. With a certain knowledge of Latin and Greek, 
which I soon found to be limited in quantity and terribly 
ecclesiastical in style, he discoursed on men and books with 
much ardour, thereby astonishing the natives most mar- 
vellously. "No Popery" is a cry easily raised and readily 
taken up in this mountain town; and the present occasion 
nearly saw a riot, caused by some unoffending remark of the 
priest's with regard to the books. However, that was avoided 
by an opportune proposal to take a walk before the sun went 
down and evening service began. Service took place as usual 
in the open court, and was impressive, if not from the devotion, 
at least from the number of those present. The music seemed 
to jar more than usual in the Syriac psalms ; for the virtue of 
it, the Syrian crowd understood little more of the language 
than I did. 

As it was our purpose to start the following day to Mosul, 
it was necessary to call upon the Qaimaqam the same evening. 
He was as affable as usual, sitting at his evening meal, only 
asking that our request for the zaptieh, whom he promised, 
should be put into writing. This boded no good, and simply 
meant that he was not going to comply with our request, but not 
wishing directly to refuse us made me send in a request for 
the zaptieh to the police, that is, to our friend the Bim-bashi. 
The reason soon appeared. Yakob, having no road passport 

Red Tape. 213 

of his own, had borrowed that of his brother ; but on present- 
ing it at Midhiat, and requesting to have it renewed, he 
received a reply that the official was not satisfied with it, and 
that if he wished for a new one the office would telegraph for 
fuller information to Diarbekr. Unfortunately, the man had 
a reputation for honesty. It was said that his predecessor had 
been a most " convenient *' man ; but he would not take a bribe, 
at least they did not like to risk it. So Yakob withdrew his 
request, and trusted that no more questions would be asked. 
Yakob, in case the real state of affairs had been discovered, 
would have been imprisoned for six months and suffered a 
heavy fine for not having his name duly registered in the 
Government list. 

The next thing was to get a clerk to write out my request 
for a zaptieh. Not everyone in Turkey can write the official 
hand, or the official language, and although it would seem not 
such a difficult thing to find someone to put into writing the 
fact that I wa« in need of a zaptieh, yet among dozens of men 
speaking and writing the Turkish language in Midhiat, one 
only was capable of inditing a Turkish epistle, asking in due 
terms for what was needed. And this man was drunk. He 
was a young Syrian in Government employment, able but of 
bad character, who spent most of his evenings drinking arrak 
and playing cards with the Government efendis and police. 

After an hour, however, he arrived, and was as affable as 
most people are under the same circumstances ; and then he 
took another hour to adjust his paper and ink and indite the 
epistle; and then another hour passed while a stamp was 
procured (for it costs sixpence to make a request to the 
Government). And then the Serai was shut, and we dis- 
covered the stamp to be a used one, and the boy who procured 
it for us to have iiTevocably fled. So we made up our mind 
that the letter, like nearly all other things and men in Turkey, 
must wait till the morrow. 

We quite expected to be disappointed, as the saying is, 
about the zaptieh ; and so we were. We received a polite 
answer from the Bim-bashi, that we had brought no zaptieh 
from Mardin, a fact of which we were already aware ; and 

214 Deir-nUOmar, 

neither he nor his most fussy superior, the Qaimaqam, could 
undertake the awful responsibility of doing what neither Pasha 
nor Mutserraf had done. This was all very well, but why in 
the name of the Turkish spirit of exasperation, could they not 
have said so a week before ? 

There was nothing to be done, except to be angry, and 
that did no more good than abusing the terrified Yakob for 
not having got his name properly registered before he left 
Diarbekr. It was clear that it was all over with our visit to 
Mosul for the present ; so I determined to console myself with 
a visit to the great monastery called Deir-el-Omar, about four 
hours' ride from Midhiat. I had intended to spend the night 
there in any case ; and as I heard so much of its wonders, 
I determined at any rate not to miss the sight of them. 

The road being one of the most infested by brigands in 
the neighbourhood, we started from Midhiat with a guard of 
four armed men over country which, as soon as we left the 
valley of Midhiat, looked all the evil things that were said of 
it. We passed a few villages, mostly of Kurds, but the 
greater part of our way lay over bare grey hills, clad only 
with dwarf oak trees ; and we were not sorry to see at 
last the monastery lying before us in a slightly more fertile 
plain. It was indeed, as Lucretius says of -^tna, well worth a 
visit, if only for the sake of hearing the endless stream of 
legends which the hospitable and garrulous old Bishop poured 
forth, as we went the round of ruined tomb and chapel, or 
sat, as the sun went down, upon the roof, before a Cyclopean 
dish of luscious grapes. 

The deir itself is one mass of broken walls, rebuilt out- 
houses, and untended fig-gardens j for the rest a stately 
echoing church, and half-a-dozen burial chambers. In the 
days of Justinian the monastery ranked second in holiness to 
Jerusalem itself, and pious men came from every nation to live 
or die there ; and if that was not possible besought their 
relatives to carry their remains and deposit them near the 
bones of the thousand and one martyrs, or the eight hundred 
devoted soldiers of the Egyptian princess. Now of this 
princess a wonderful tale is told, the tale, moreover, of the 

Deir-eUOmar. 215 

building of the place. Mar Samuel, the pupil of a famous 
Syrian saint Sham'un, dreamed a dream in the reign of the 
Emperor Theodosius. The Angel Grabriel appeared to him, 
and bade him build a great temple to the Lord, and a home 
where his worshippers might dwell. As he spake, he showed 
him a great stone, balanced between heaven and earth, in the 
place where the keystone of the highest dome should be ; and 
on the ground he traced the measure of the house and courts, 
bidding the old man consider it well. Only, if any female 
person came near to the place, then would the great stone 
fall in pieces on the earth. 

When the good man awoke he looked and saw the great 
stone hanging as the angel said, so immediately he began to 
build. Month by month the work went on with stone hewn 
from the quarries, and gold and marble and precious stones 
sent by all the princes of the earth; until the fame of it 
reached the ears of the King of Egypt. Eager to do honour 
to the Lord, he prepared presents of gold and of precious 
marbles for the work. He had no son, only a daughter, most 
eager to be the bearer of these offerings. But with the news 
of the building came the warning that forbade the approach 
of women. But the princess was desirous to go ; and, in spite 
of all, determined to travel in the dress of a warrior at the 
head of eight hundred men. After a journey of many weeks, 
accomplished in perfect safety owing to their sacred charge, 
she and her train reached the rocky hills of Mons Masius, 
aod came to where they saw the wonderful building rising up 
to the great stone. But as she looked, that which the angel 
prophesied took place, and the stone fell down with a crash, 
breaking into many pieces. Then great fear fell upon the 
builders, until the princess, overcome with sorrow, confessed 
herself, and vowed to live a life of penance near the church. 
And they built her a tower, and she lived therein, never 
seeing the daylight again but when she went, closely veiled, 
to sorrow in the church. And her tower stands there to this 

Her soldiers stayed, carving stone and fitting marble in the 
church, until the work was done. And in due course they 

216 The Dream of Mar GabrieL 

died^ and were buried in a great chamber that the monks 
made for them. Outside the chamber are two tombs of two 
cooks. These came with the princess ; but her men^ judging 
it not seemly to be eight hundred and two^ determined that 
the cooks should die, whicdi they duly did, and were buried 
with considerable pomp. 

Time passed, and the golden house grew richer, and the 
monks ever more holy, until the great wars with Persia, when 
Nushirwan and Justinian fought together. Then it was that, 
for some misdeed that the Syrians did, the Emperor cut off all 
their fingers; but, repenting of the deed not long after, he 
made amends, and gave over the monastery to the Syrians for 
ever ; and thus it passed from the hands of the Greeks to those 
of the Syrian people. 

In later days Mar Gabriel became head of the monastery, 
he after whom the place is still sometimes called. He, too, 
dreamed a dream that he walked in the streets of Baghdad^ 
and as he walked he met a man ragged and lame. And it 
was told him that he should be one day a king, and be an 
instrument in the hand of God to destroy all nations. So 
Mar Gabriel journeyed six days to the city of Nineveh, and 
thence he was borne down upon a raft to Baghdad. 

There wandering in the streets he met a man, most 
miserable to look upon, sitting upon a broken pillar outside a 
rich man^s gate. When he asked lodging of the man, '' Mine 
uncle," he replied, " scarcely have I rice enough or room for 
my own needs, and how can I give thee hospitality ? " " Is 
not thy name Timur ? Then must I stay in thy house." So 
the holy man went home with the beggar, and told him what 
he had seen in his dream. But Timur believed him not, and 
lightly promised to spare the monastery of the Syrians for 
the sake of him that brought the flattering news. 

Some years passed, when one winter as the snow lay thick 
upon the rocks of Deir-el-Omar, came the hordes of Tamerlane 
sweeping the East like a whirlwind, and encamped about the 
famous place, eager for plunder. The monks had heard 
with terror the rumour of their coming, and, barring the doors 
of the church, fled and hid themselves. 

The Ooming of Tamerlane » 217 

The soldiers soon entered the monastery and lived there 
many weeks through the winter, carrying on meanwhile the 
work of demolition. Church and shrine and tomb were 
stripped of precious stones and gold, until at last they reached 
the sanctuary. And there they lit a tire to melt the gold from 
off the ceiling, but suddenly the work was stopped, it is said, 
by heavenly intervention. And only in the sanctuary are 
there still remains of the riches of the church, in the fragments 
of rich mosaic on the dome, vine and fig, and ears of wheat, 
and the rich tesselated marble pavement round the high altar.* 
It is said that Tamerlane took seventy mule loads of gold and 
one hundred of silver, beside lead and countless ornaments 
and embroideries, when he went away. 

The monks, where were they meanwhile ? The soldiers 
came, and fresh snow fell, and no one could tell where the 
monks were hid. One day the monks, eager to know what 
had befallen their beautiful church, sent one of their number 
to see what the soldiers did. He saw the church, and re- 
turned to tell the monks. But following his footsteps in the 
snow, next day the soldiers traced him to a cave, of which 
they had indeed heard that it was a place where spirits dwelt 
beneath the earth, terrifying the people by terrible sounds at 
night. Some, too, of the villagers lay hidden there ; and on 
this fatal day Tamerlane bade his men light great tires at the 
cavers mouth, and, laying incense upon them, send up the 
smoke of the lazy monks with their prayers to heaven. So 
died Mar Gabriel with all his monks by the hand of the man 
whose greatness he had foretold. 

Early in the morning, before we started back to Midhiat, 
the old Bishop took us down to see the cave, and grope about 
in the dark among the skulls and bones of the four hundred 
monks that were slain. Near the entrance was the charred 
skull of a child of six years old, the smallest victim of the 
conqueror. It was a grim story and a ghostly place, which 
we were no less glad to leave than the Bishop, who had sadly 

* This beautiful tesselated work Dr. Bidgrer dismisses with contempt as a 
'* pavement of Dutch tiles." 

218 Df'ir-el'Omar, 

bumped his shaven head against the low roof, being a tall 
man^ and afflicted with bad sight. 

It is needless to add that the monks were sainted, and the 
monastery known in days to come by the name of Mar Grabriel 
the abbot. Of the former glories of the place little now 
remains, but four old monks, ignorant and poor, one of them 
a converted " Yazidi,^' or devil-worshipper, and the Bishop, 
little more distinguished in mind or body than his com- 
panions. The church contains little of interest except an 
immense stone which stands before the sanctuary, and said to 
have been cracked in half by a blow from the hand of 
Tamerlane. On one side is a long Estrangelo inscription, and 
its present use is to carry the books of Psalms and hymns 
chanted during the morning and evening prayer. The 
tesselated pavement, and the mosaics of the roof, are but 
gloomy memorials of what is gone for ever. 

After visiting the marble tombs of the saints buried in the 
church and the various chapels built about the place, and 
reported to contain the bodies of many thousand saints, we 
lost little time in starting on our way to Midhiat. The Bishop 
was mounted on a most lovely Arab mare, the present of a rich 
uncle at Nisibin, and we were attended by four armed 
Syrians, partly on account of the general dangers of the way, 
but chiefly because the Bishop was the bearer of a most 
important and ancient document dating back to the twelfth 
century, which, in accordance with the law of Mohammed, 
gave exemption from taxation to the property of all 
monasteries. This year, however, the Government — of whose 
'^ admirable internal administration, and consequently in- 
creased revenues,^^ we had lately heard so much in European 
papers, but had learned in Turkey still more — ^had made the 
attempt to exact tithes of all church property; and on this 
account the Patriarch, always ready to uphold the rights of 
his people against exaction, had sent for the document. In 
the middle of the day we reached Midhiat, and prepared to 
make a long journey on the next day to Mardin. Half way 
between Mardin and Midhiat, a hard ride of thirteen hours, 
we met a small party containing Dr. Andrus, the American 

Deir-el-Omar. 21^ 

missionary of Midhiat^ and his wife. They were bringing a 
large number of letters and papers, which had accumulated 
during my absence from Mardin ; but I was exceedingly sorry 
not to have seen him at home in his pleasant house, and learn 
from him on the spot something of his work in that village and 
the mountain district, of which he has the charge. 


220 The Caravan, 


Across thk Plain from Mardin to Mosul. 

I HAD given up all idea of visiting Mosul^ the more so on 
account of the fearful rumours that from time to time reached 
Mardin concerning the doings of the Fariq, when suddenly 
His Holiness asked why in the world I did not accompany 
the American missionaries on their journey to their quarters 
for winter work in Mosul. I had been repeatedly pressed by 
the hospitable Americans to form one of their party, and now 
that the Patriarch himself suggested the plan, and thought 
there would be no danger in undertaking the journey in their 
company, I began to make arrangements to prolong my stay 
in the country by a few weeks, and to prepare for a start in 
four days. Yakob, who would be of no use to me on this 
expedition, was to return to Diarbekr, and set the matter of 
his passport right ; while I arranged with the Americans to 
take one of their servants in his place. 

It is a serious matter to start on a journey when the 
•caravan consists of twenty animals, and the travellers range 
from two to forty years of age. What most of us looked upon 
as most unpromising was an American wagon, which was to 
give the children rest, and the ladies shade during the heat of 
the day down in the plain. It took a week to get this con- 
veyance into order, train an extra horse to it, and make a trial 
trip to see if it could pass through the narrow streets of the 
town. When at last the day of departure arrived, things 
began to take shape. Allowing four hours for the start, I 
arrived in readiness in the middle of the morning, and reaching 
the courtyard saw such a scene of confusion as would make 

The Caravan. Oct. 7. 221 

some men cry and others laugh. The ladies were all in a 
piteous state of nervousness, the children thoroughly tired 
before the start began ; the katirjis moved with jealousy of 
each other, and all doing everything they kuew to shift the 
loads from animal to animal, so that their own particular 
charge might be lightly weighted, and they might get a ride 
from time to time. Then, as one of the children was four years 
old and the other six, their muhaffahs^ would not balance, and 
it took some time to determine between the various expedients 
proposed to remedy the defect. The katirjis swore by all 
their fathers' beards that no camel that breathed could carry 
some of the loads ,- our servants retorted that as many cats 
could carry them to Canaan. The horses were too fresh, and 
had to be quieted; the mules fought, and the katerjis lost 
their tempers; until at last, when the children had fallen 
down A sufficient number of times, and shed a corresponding 
quantity of tears ; when the horses had champed themselves 
and each other into an almost uncontrollable state of excite- 
ment; and, in fact, the only calm people within half a mile 
were a large white Mosul donkey, the American doctor, prince 
of caravan organisers, and the chief of the muleteers, an 
official and ambrosial person, who never descended from the 
Olympian heights of Turkish bumbledom — then the company 
started. We mounted our steeds, and rode out of the gates, 
followed by the chief groom of the party, Raphael, a large 
and slowly-moving man, but withal the mainstay of his depart- 
ment, and several others too. 

I was the last to mount, and rode out on a horse which the 
Doctor lent me in place of my own mare ; and the animal, a 
fine thoroughbred, being accustomed to lead caravans when- 
ever he bemeaned himself by accompanying them, nearly laid 
me low as he gambolled over the slippery stones of the street, 
neighing loud enough to awake all the dead bishops of Mardin. 
Finally we emerged from the eastern gate of the town without 
mishap, except that we met a high official, and were nearly 

* A pair of wooden panniera, with a screen from the son, balanced on each 
side of an animal. 

222 The Camp at Tel Harnn. 

suffocated by the crowd and the terrible scorn of the big man. 
Then down the rocky road we rumbled for two hours, until we 
reached the plain, and were not sorry to pitch an early camp, 
two hours before sunset, near a village called Tel Harrin. 

It was the fourth time that I had been down upon the plain, 
and again I felt the indescribable exhilaration peculiar to the 
life upon this open land. Here one seems truly free from all 
the ties of civilisation ; and though at times an overpowering 
sense of eimui comes over one, yet at first there is only 
the exquisite feeling of independence, the wish simply to try 
one's freedom and ride away for days on the back of an Arab 
mare right out into the infinite expanse of grass and corn and 
sweet smelling tamarisks. Here one learns why the Arab, so 
cramped in a town, as soon as he gets again upon the plain 
bursts out into song and galops away with all his might just 
for the love of it. Nowhere else does a man feel so well that 
no man is his master and that he has here found his natural 
life and that time is as nothing. It is a glorious life for a 
short time until the inevitable cravings of a higher self 
whispers that work is better than play, and that the secret of 
the enjoyment is in the relaxation it brings. 

A first night's camping is always a serious matter ; no one 
knows exactly where the things all are, or who is to be 
responsible for each department of the work ; so the servants 
all quarrel, and things in general go crooked. The first thing 
to be done was, of course, to tether the horses by halters, 
fastened at equal distances from each other, to a long rope 
secured by its two ends to pegs driven into the ground. 
Their hind legs had then to be fastened by ropes and stakes 
driven in behind them, so that they might stand straight and 
not be able to turn every way and fight with each other, for 
the Arab thoroughbred is all for destroying his neighbours. 
While they were being groomed and curried, with loud 
encouragements from the grooms and considerable clatter of 
the currycombs, the tents had been put up, perfectly regard- 
less of symmetry, for there were four men to each tent, and 
each man had a special theory of his own to carry out. The 
cook, too, had been preparing some supper, which it is the 

Tel Han-in to Nisibin, Oct, 8. 


pleasantest duty of each day to eat, seated round a tablecloth 
at the door of the open tent, and watching all the various 
diversions of a small camp meanwhile. An hour later the 
neighing of horses, the conversation of the katirjis, mingling 
with the crowing of cocks and the shouts of children from the 
neighbouring villages, lulled us to sleep under the stars. We 
awoke a little before sunrise, and started as soon as the 
katirjis were ready. The day's journey was to take us as far 
as Nisibin, from which point we hoped, if the Anizah Arabs 
were not too far north, to make our way straight across the 
plain, thus saving two days, instead of going eastwards across 
the river. The scenery was dull now, as autumn was coming 
on ; and there were none of the sights to be seen which made 
the plain so lovely and entertaining in the spring. The flowers 
were withered, the grass and com were cut or dried up, and 
the countless groups of black tents were gone with their 
whinnying horses and little brown urchins running in and out 
or playing with woolly little puppies under the reed awning. 
Nisibin I had visited in the spring, when the flowers were out 
and the fathers and mothers of the brown children were iust 
preparing to cut their barley and oats. 

For manv vears Nisibis formed the chief bulwark of the 
Roman Empire against the attacks of the Persians upon their 
eastern frontiers. Three times Sapur the Second, the great 
rival of Constantius, Julian, and Valens, besieged the town 
without success, for the last time in 350 a.d., ten years before 
the capture of Amida by the Persians. In this Mesopotamian 
campaign Sapur drained his strength, and, in consequence, 
abandoned his schemes of Western conquest. The tide of 
war rolled backward and forward over this land, led 
alternately by Julian and Nushirwan, Chosroes and Belisarius, 
until finally came the death struggle of Heraclius before the 
resistless flood of Arab conquest. In the third siege of 
Nisibis, Theodoret tells how, when there seemed most danger 
that the city would fall into the hands of the enemy, Mar 
Efrem besought the Bishop, Mar James,* to pray that the 

* S. James wae one of the Fathers who sat at the Council of Nicaa. 

224 Nisihin. May 25— Od. 8. 

enemy might be foiled. So, arrayed in all his robes, the 
Bishop went, and, standing on the walls, lifted up his hands 
and prayed : " May they know by small insects the power of 
the God of the Christians,'' which, indeed, happened, for a 
plague of flies came and so disturbed the Persians that they 
raised the siege. Some say, however, that they thought the 
Bishop to be the Emperor bringing fresh forces to aid the 
besieged; while Gibbon, leaving such questions to settle 
themselves, remarks that the Persians were drawn oflF tc^ 
protect the Oxus against an invasion of the Messagetae. 
Gibbon doubts whether the account of Julian, who describes 
how, by damming the river below the town, engines were 
floated right up to the walls, is to be believed; however, 
the size and rapidity of the Mygdonius, even in October, 
would be quite sufficient for the purpose, especially if both 
streams, the black and the white, were dammed. The river 
has two sources, and flows in two streams past the town ; 
one stream, the black, is said to be not drinkable, and is 
certainly of a dark colour; the other is purer in colour as in 

The condition of the modem town is, like most others in 
Asiatic Turkey, constantly changing. About 1838 some 
large new barracks were built by Mirza Pasha, but they have 
been since deserted, and Nisibin has been rejected as a 
military centre. At present the place is growing ; mills are 
being built, and cultivation is on the increase, in spite of the 
atrocious system of tax-farming, by which the dues on 
agricultural products for the province of Diarbekr are let to a 
syndicate of men of that town. These men, partly Christians, 
partly Moslems, exact so much that, instead of taking one- 
tenth, by the time each of the collectors has his share, little 
more than one-tenth remains to the poor growers. Con- 
sequently, although the land here is so rich that it is said to 
yield easily a hundredfold, scarcely more is cultivated than 
will suffice for the yearly needs of the people. 

The inhabitants consist of about three hundred houses of 
Moslems, a hundred and fifty of Jews, and some thirty 
Syrian families, who cling to the beautiful old church of 

Nwihin. May 2b— Oct. 8. 225 

S. James, which, being the seat of a Bishop, forms the 
headquarters of the Syrians of the neighbouring villages. 
The barracks to the north of the town have been deserted, 
and the troops transferred to Mosul, while a Qaimaqam sits in 
the seat of the former military commander. He seemed a 
pursy, self-important kind of man, but, finding that I shared 
his interest in antiquities, was very polite, and anxious that I 
should accompany him on an archaeological visit to some 
of the neighbouring mounds. He possessed a number of 
Assyrian seals of little importance, but on which he set quite 
American values, and inquired eagerly what I thought the 
British Museum would give for them. 

It seems strange that the Government should not use this 
fine old garrison town to keep the irrepressible Arab in 
■order, and render the south country a little more safe. The 
only drawback to the place is its malarious character, which 
•could, without difficulty, be remedied by planting trees and 
draining the marshes east of the river. 

Of the old Roman town, the headquarters of Severus and 
Julian, there are considerable remains, most of which are 
built into the walls of houses, or lie buried underground. 
The only monuments of importance are five columns of the 
old market place, still called in the Arabic, "The Columns of 
the Weighing,'' the top of the most commodious of which is 
now occupied by a flourishing family of chattering storks.* 
In garden walls and mud built cottages columns of marble and 
carved capitals appear, and the old twelve-arched bridge that 
spans the twin streams may date from Roman times. The 
church itself must once have been a beautiful building, but 
ruthless Vandalism has destroyed what time would only have 
mellowed, and the whole west end and south aisle have gone, 
to be repaired with rough walls and clumsy buttresses by the 
modern Syrians. The ancient dome has been restored, but 

* The acconnts of Nisibin by Badger (i. 67) and Ainaworth (ii. 337) are 
examples of how inaccurate the desoriptionB of aooorate obserrers may be, when 
the i^ubject does not interest them. It would appear that neither traveller ever 
saw Nisibin. Buckingham gives a far better description. 

226 The Church of S. James. 

the windows, for safety's sake^ blocked up, so that all 
that remains to testify of the former beauty of the place is 
half the nave, the sanctuary, and part of the north aisle. 
Three doors leading from the nave into each aisle, of which 
those to the south are now blocked up, contain some of the 
loveliest carving to be found in Turkey. Those to the north 
are still perfect, carved with a rich design of vine and the 
flowers of the place ; and the lintels are surmounted by an 
arch in the usual Roman manner. It is strange, how- 
ever, that this carving is not on the chancel side, but on the 
side of the door which faces the aisles. Perhaps the most 
noticeable thing for a building of the date is the exquisite 
egg-and-dart moulding carved on the doors, and running 
above a rich cornice all round the apse. At the east are three 
shallow apses, all open to the church, without any screen or 
wall between them and the body of the church, except some 
modem trellis work and a curtain, which may be drawn 
across the church in front of the altars in accordance with 
modern Syrian custom. 

Over the lintel of one of the south doors, and now open to 
the air, is a Greek inscription, of which Badger and Fletcher 
have given readings. A second inscription is in a vault 
beneath the church. In this vault or crypt, which, with the 
stairs that lead down to it, occupies a large portion of the 
space beneath the church, once lay S. James of Nisibis, in a 
large sarcophagus of red marble. It is on his account that 
the Moslems hold the church in such respect, telling terrible 
stories of the judgments that have overtaken those wicked 
pashas who stabled their horses in the church, or used it as a 
magazine for corn and arms. All saints who died before the 
coming of Mohammed are regarded with great reverence by 
rightly thinking Moslems, and, in this case, the horns of the 
crescent on the dome of the mosque, called Zein-ul-Abedin, 
that stands opposite the church, are bent downwards towards 
the church, in acknowledgment of the superiority of the 
Christian Saint. The tomb of S. James is quite plain, except 
for a Greek cross carved at the head, which, though the body 
has been taken away long since, every pious visitor kisses as 

The Tomb of 8. James. 227 

he prays for a blessing ; and above it always bumii a small 
lamp filled with oil of sesam^. 

When the church waa restored, apparently about thirty 
years ago, a large quantity of earth was dug away from the 
west end to make a space on the original lerel of the church ; 
in other places the earth is still about twelve feet above its 

DooB IN THE Church or S. Janib, Nihibin. 

original level. No doubt excavations) here and elsewhei* 
about the town would yield inany interesting remains of the 
lower Roman Empire. 

At the east end are some steps leading up to the roof of 
the church, on which have been built within the last few 
years a large and very pleasant diwan looking over the plain, 


228 Excavations In Turkey, 

and a few other rooms for the Bishop's use. During my first 
visit I spent two nights in this room, and had plenty of time 
to wander among the ruins and listen to the Syrians discussing 
their prospects in these parts. 

Their leader is a deacon who lives in a village in the hills 
just above Nisibin, and whom I found to be one of the most 
intelligent and capable men in the Church. Shammas Hanna 
and his brother Gabiel, a boy of seventeen, were filled with 
the idea of restoring their church and people, by obtaining 
the much needed education and enlightenment. 

The Bishop was a good-natured and very simple man, who 
knew himself to be very ignorant, and hoped that as there 
were few in his church in a much better condition, except a 
small number of monks and deacons, help would be given 
them from outside. He was entirely persuaded of the exis- 
tence of countless manuscripts, church plate, and other objects 
of value hidden beneath the ground ; but having once, with 
the aid of a professional treasure finder, of whose dark 
services he spoke with great contrition, undertaken a little 
excavation on his own account, was very promptly stopped by 
the Government from attempting anything further in the 
archaeological line. For the Turkish Government, as those 
who explored Nineveh have good reason to know, are 
astonishingly jealous of those who would pry into the secrets 
of the earth, whether to discover the remains of ancient life, 
or to enrich themselves and others with the mineral treasures 
of Northern Turkey. Consequently the pursuit of the digger 
is a dark art, and confined to the magic operations of the pro- 
fessional treasure finders, who with their squares and lines, 
and mysterious signs in books, are not difficult to find among 
the credulous natives. 

There was no official objection made when a miller decapi- 
tated a year ago the fine human-headed bull that guards 
the northern gate of Kuyunjik or Nineveh to mend his 
mill ; but there is a fine outcry when the foreigner comes 
to take away these buried images to set them up in that 
house of idols in which the natives believe that the Londoner 

Across the Plain. 229 

On the evening of October 8 we encamped on the ground 
to the east of the River Mygdonius,* much in the same position, 
no doubt, as Sapur encamped before the city fifteen hundred 
years ago. 

From this point we hoped to be able to strike across the 
plain to Mosul, but, before going to sleep, we heard the 
discomforting news that the Anizah Arabs, who occupy 
the southern portion of the plain, had come right up into the 
Shammar territory, through which we were to pass, and that 
in consequence the Shammar escort, on which we were 
depending, would be useless, even if we could obtain it; for 
what small party of Shammar would care to face an onslaught 
from the Anizah for a lot of pig-eating Nazarenes ? The 
muleteers, consequently, having made up their minds that 
they were not going to run any risk for anybody, but 
intended to take the road northwards across the Tigris, took 
care to oversleep themselves and prevent an early start next 
day. This was inconvenient, as it would be quite impossible 
to take the wagon up and down the cliffs on either side of 
the Tigris. The Qaimaqam, too, being nothing but a man of 
straw, refused positively to hazard the lives of his brave 
zaptiehs in such a dangerous expedition, thereby drawing 
upon his head reflections less })olite than just as to the 
capability of his chiefs to manage their subjects. But that is 
by the way, for all the world knows who holds sway 
between the Tigris and Euphrates, to say nothing of the 
country further east and south. Be that as it may, we were 
all much relieved to see the Doctor's welcome form cantering 
with his two horses over the long bridge, for he alone of our 
party had any good acquaintance with Arabic and govern- 
mental ways, and possessed, too, that invaluable treasure in 
this land, " khater " — that is, the favour which the ability to 
kill or cure commands. He had been detained by some 
illness in Mardin, and had started the previous evening and 
ridden for three hours before daybreak. He prepared 

* Mygdonia, the nune of river and proyince, was merely a corruption of 
Macedonia, the town having been founded, or rather refounded, by Antiochus, 
receiving the name of Antiochea Mygdonia. Strabo, zvi., 747 ; Polybius, v., 51. 

230 Across the Plain. 

immediately to go and beard the Qaimaqam, finally arranging 
that we should skirt the north of the plain, keeping this side 
of the river so as to avoid the Arabs, and taking two zaptiehs 
with us as a supposed protection. I was glad enough, on the 
Doctor's arrival, to exchange horses, the animal which I had 
been riding for the last two days being the most fidgety that 
ever walked. He was a fine beast, and had that fashion of 
well-bred Arabs, never to stop till they are dead. At 
morning, noon, or night, he was equally ready for a galop, 
with the natural consequence that when bed -time came he 
rolled over with exhaustion, but it only required a new arrival 
to bring him to his feet, snorting and whinnying enough to 
wake the whole camp. The colt that the Doctor brought w^as 
more conformable, and soon showed that he was made to be a 
first-rate traveller. 

The Doctor found here as elsewhere former patients, who 
hearing of his arrival flocked to the camp to obtain his 
services for friends with sundry diseases most explicitly and 
unpleasantly described ; so that it was some time before we 
got wagon, loads, babies, servants and all under way in a 
truly patriarchal procession to our next camping ground 
about seven hours distant. We were not really in the 
desert or near it; but there was all the glorious feeling 
of freedom and health which the exquisite air of the 
open plain brings, seasoned deliciously with a slight tinge 
of danger from the possible vicinity of Anizah Arabs. 
To find the danger a real one it was only necessary to 
stray fifty miles without an escort to the south ; but as 
it was, we kept up near the villages, and on the beaten 

It was Saturday, and we pitched an extra tent in which 
the Doctor and I might spend Sunday, and receive any choice 
Arab spirits that chose to call. We encamped on a fine 
grassy plot below a village, by the side of a good stream, 
flowing full and deep even in October, and with abundance 
of melons, grapes, and mutton. Three tall trees threw a 
pleasant shade over the tents, of which one, a gaunt old 
walnut, supported an immense magpies' nest, as noisy a house- 

A Sunday Camp. 231 

hold as ever lived by thieving. It was a village of magpies, 
parties of which strutted in Sabbatic pompousness all about 
the grass or held indignation meetings in the trees, to the 
delight of the children and the annoyance of the muleteers 
whose handkerchiefs and beads they stole. Towards evening 
the tinkling of a distant caravan came over the rising ground 
from the west, succeeded by the growls of many a protesting 
camel, as his driver " nakh'd "* him and loosed his load. 
They had started several hours before we left Nisibin, and 
made in two days what we had made in one, for camels are 
slow going animals. As soon as the loads were all lifted 
down, and laid in a circle round the fire where the men were 
to sleep, Sayyid Mohammed, the head of the caravan, came to 
call upon us, and propose that we should join him and his 
camels, for our mutual protection in crossing the plain. We 
w^ere glad of the opportunity of cutting our journey shorter, 
and settled to change our route, keeping away from the river. 
Mohammed sat in the door of the tent smoking a short hard- 
ware pipe, of the sort they make in Mosul, and sipping 
shcrbat. " Haniya," " Your pleasure to it," we say, and he 
duly answers " God give thee pleasure '* — "Allah yahannek " ; 
and then he talks of his camels, and the dangers of travelling 
over the plain. Two " majids,'' a good six shillings, he has 
to pay for each, toll to the Shammar Arabs ; and if he cross 
the Anizah, who knows how much more ? '' Far be such fate 
from me and you who hear me ! *' He had three hundred 
camels loaded with goods of Aleppo and European manufac- 
ture ; so there would be a handsome bill to pay in case of an 

Frogs there were by the score, growing very noisy toward 
evening, and affording great amusement to the children, while 
we basked in our tent, and listened to the Arab's talk, and 
the countless sleepy sounds to be heard in an encampment by 
a village. Close by was a fresh spring, which helped to feed 
the stream, having two basins separated by huge boulders ; 
in one of which the women, red veiled and red cloaked, very 

* The regular word for making a oamel kneel. 

232 A Sunday Camp, 

shy of intruding campers, and followed by little girls gay 
with necklaces of tawdry beads, washed and filled their great 
water jars, and then filed ofiF in strings like camels to their 
homes. At the lower basins pious Moslems performed 
ablutions, and said their prayers at sunrise and at evening 
upon a jutting plot of grass ; and then sat down to smoke a 
satisfied pipe or cigarette of peace, contented to have done 
their duty by God and man. It w^aa curious to watch them 
standing in rows, the " leader of prayer " a little in front, and 
make their prostrations and observed forma of ritual like clock- 
worked bodies, except where one younger than the rest 
dragged behind from want of practice, or an old man's stiflFer 
knees failed to wait upon his prayers so strictly. Our animals 
spent a quiet day chopping the short grass, and our men lay 
lazily about, or came to talk and listen at our door. One 
following our example collected a few attentive spirits, and 
led a small service of reading and prayer before the suu went 
down. We sat quietly, and read of a land not so very far 
from where we sat, which the Prophet likens, so rich and 
yet 80 barren, to a potsherd so broken that there is no 
piece to gather coals from the fire or water from the jar; 
and, as will always happen out upon this plain, we set 
to dreaming of what might be in store for this country, 
and what the mounds we see on every side could tell of its 

The next day afforded little variety on the last, except for 
a chapter of accidents with our horses. The way led over 
gradually rising ground, long arms stretching out from the 
hills down toward the south, and every now and then between 
two of these a stream. The path was stony, sometimes rocky, 
and gave the wagon party, to which I did not belong, nearly 
as much trouble as did the various streams. One of these 
I had just crossed, and halted on the grass that stretched up 
the next rise, musing on tho chances of human travel, and 
the folly of travelling with wagons in Turkey ; when sud- 
denly, without a sound of warning, I found myself sitting in 
an alarmingly undignified position upon the green sward, 
while my colt calmly trotted off to browse at ease. It 

Across the Plain. 

Heemed that in tlieir peregi-iuations my thoughts hud uot 
chanced to turn to the proximity of the Doctor's servant 
leading by a long rein his second horse, a fire-eatiog little 
thoroughbred consumed with a continual desire to lame or 
devour all his male neighbours. As he passed me, he hud 
swung suddenly round, and delivered an effective broadside 
into the unoffending fiank of my colt, with the result above 
described. There was no damage done, and I eaisily caught 
the colt, determining next day to ride (he fire-eaier, and have 
my revenge. The very same evening, as we were descending 
a high mound, on which a village stood, down to our camping 
plaue on the other side, we saw the horse who was harnessed 
AS wheeler to the wagon suddenly take it into his head to be 
offended becanse the horse, that was generally put ia to help 
him up these hills, was not tnken out immediately the top wus 
i-eacl'ed. He got up against the wagon, aud began to display 
all the temper and kicking he knew of, until there seemed 
nothing left to kick. Heels were flying iu every directiou 
over the bonrd and up to the se&t, uutil it seemed that thu 
only whole part was the Doctor, who aat like a rock in the 
middle holding the reins. The animal seemed satisfied when 
both sbafts were brokeu, and the ladies nearly out of their 
mindd with Tright; and then he quietly submitted to be taken 
out of the rags of harness, and marched off, iind cilled for 
his supper. The wagon of course suffered most, and needeil 
the new shafts which had been brought from Mardin. Some 
of the iron-work was also twisted or broken, so that it 
was ten o'clock before the ill-fated vehicle was restored 
to service. There was fortunately a blacksmith in this 
Kurdish village, but he had the spirit of a Kurd, and 
would not be persuaded for a long time to spend au 
hour or two of the night to assist a truveller. The wagon 
generally formed my bed; h> I fared badly, what with t)ie 
hammering and the lengthy discussion as to pay which 

Early next morning the Mukhtar, or head of the neighbour- 
ing village, came with his favounte son and almost more 
favourite mare to call upon the Doctor, an old benefiictor of 

234 Camels, 

his. He was anxious to know what he could do for us ; but 
was sorry, when he heard we were going to cut straight 
down to Mosul from this point, that he could not send his 
men with us, for it would be unsafe for them to venture so 
near to the Anizah ; for us, Allah knew ! So we determined to 
content ourselves with the company of the camels, as we had 
done for the last two days. What protection we really 
afforded to each other it is hard to say ; for in case of attack 
neither party was in the least prepared or able to defend the 
other ; for which camels would have suffered more than we. 
For they were open, in spite of toll already paid, to the chance 
attacks of any private body ; while we were protected by the 
mere fact that we were foreigners. We paid no toll ; but the 
extravagant fuss which inevitably follows any mishap that 
befalls an European is a wholesome check upon the marauding 
instincts of the plain. A hundred Kurds may be slain in 
silence, says the Kurdish proverb, but if one Frank, what 

The camels generally started some hours before we did ; 
and as they travelled at a much slower pace, we overtook them 
each day only to pass them in a very short time. This evening, 
however, we encamped together, as the neighbourhood was 
dangerous, and were consequently disturbed all night by the 
growling of the camels and the not too polite language of 
their drivers. Our supper of chicken and porridge over, we 
crossed the stream that divided us from the camels, and went 
to see them feed. The Arabs were highly delighted, and, 
being proud of their camels as if they had been their own 
children, told us this one's age, how much that one carried, 
or what a voracious appetite others had, and how another 
had always to be tickled under the lip with a magpie's 
feather before he would rise under his load, until we felt 
really very wise about camels. The camels were swallow- 
ing the dough balls on which they feed every evening, 
taking in stock, and then ruminating all night on what 
they had secured. These Arabs belonged to one of those 
despised tribes that live in villages, and do not live free 
upon the plain; they are, therefore, subject to the derision 

Wild Game. 235 

and pillage of their more independent cousins further 

They were curious beasts these camels, and it was interest- 
ing to watch the men loading and unloading, the camels 
growling horribly at the loads, and making frequent attempts 
to throw them off. 

" Ikh ! " " ikh ! " the men say, as they make the beasts 
kneel, whether for loading or unloading; and a« we passed 
them on the road, we heard continually cries of " Hai ! hai ! " 
to warn the animals of dangerous ground, and the almost 
continuous " Yah, Yah," to urge them on. All this inter- 
larded with rich address to the camels, "Uncle of Ras-et 
Ain ' " and a hundred other apostrophes, ranging from the 
polite " Uncle," or " Father camel," down to abusive 
onslaughts on their female relatives to very distant degrees. 
It was wonderful to notice how these surefooted creatures 
picked their way over stony or rocky ground, never slipping, 
and seeming as much at home as upon the level plain, on 
which their soft -padded feet can be used to most ad- 

During these days the quails were migrating southward. 
Each day some twenty flocks crossed our line of march, in 
dense clouds, literally darkening the sky. They are lovely 
little birds, not unlike the Greek partridge, grey, mottled, 
and red, and excellent for food. Had there been a gun 

* The ai^nroximate loads and paoe of beasts of burden in Turkey are as 
foUows : — 

Post horses, ohanging every twelve hours, six to seven miles an hour, with 
light weight. 

Caravan horse, three to four miles an hour, 200 — 240 lb. weight, eight to ten 
hours a day. 

Caravan mule, three to four miles an hour, 240 — 300 lb. weight, eight to ten 
hours a day. 

Caravan donkey, two to three miles an hour, 75 — 150 lb. weight, six to .eight 
hours a day. 

Caravan camel, two to three miles an hour, 360 — 480 lb. weight, four to six 
hours a day. 

Dromedaries will, of course, go further and faster. 

In Turkey distance is always calculated by hours, that is, by distances varying 
from two-and-a-half to four mUes, according to the nature of the ground : in 
short, the Persian *' Farsang," the Greek *' Parasang," or the German ** Stunde.*' 

236 Wild Game. 

among our party we should have dined well every day, but 
revolvers were incapable of doing much execution. Gazelles, 
too, we saw in considerable numbers, but always at a distance, 
shyly sniffing the air among the long grass upon some rising 
ground, ready to scamper off as soon as they caught sight or 
wind of us. The Arabs hunt them with lynx or greyhounds 
and hawks, which work together, the hawk striking and the 
hound following to complete the work ; for the latter is 
seldom fleet enough to catch the gazelle unaided. Gazelles 
are often to be seen in private houses, caught when young, 
and kept as pets or for eating. The Doctor had given to him 
by various grateful patients, a bear, a lynx, and a gazelle, 
which he kept about his establishment with considerable 
trouble. Hares, too, are abundant in the long grass, and 
many blue hares are to be seen, which afford good sport 
to the children of the villages in the long summer 
evenings. Larger game, too, abounds, but more toward 
the south and east of Mosul ; while further south again 
are the wild asses, and from time to time a lion may be 

Biding through the long grass some way below Tchel-Agha, 
I was suddenly st-artled by my colt, who gave a violent plunge 
and nearly fell. We were crossing a "Wadi,*'* or gully 
containing a dry water-course, and as we passed disturbed a 
party of wild-boar, who were taking their midday nap among 
the reeds. These wild boar, as well as turkeys, are very 
common about this country, and would afford excellent sport 
both for shot and ball. 

The night was spent upon a grand plot of grass near a 
ruined village, and flourishing cotton fields, by which some 
Arabs were encamped. Down past our tents flowed a fine full 
stream, on which a few hundred yards above us was built a 
mill. The neglect of such a place, and the ruined village, 
were the marks of devastation caused by a certain Kurdish 
chief already mentioned, who had risen to that rank by a 

* Cp. Barton i. 150, who describes the tenl nature of '' oasis," " wadi," 
" desert," and other geographical features. To denote such a hill watercourse 
he naturalises the word " fiumara." 

A Kurdwh Pasha, October 13. 237 

successful course of villainy and a judicious system of bakhshisli; 
so that at last the authorities^ tired of his wiles, created him 
Pasha, and made him ruler over all the land from Aznaiir to 
Jazirah. His wealth in cattle and sheep he maintains by 
destroying every village. Christian or Kurdish, where he 
desires pasture, and by exacting toll in return for protection 
from all those whom it is not his interest to exterminate. We 
were on the ancient royal road of Persia, now a mere 
broad and level tract that leads to Mosul and Baghdad, with 
nothing to notice on the way, except the ruins, overhanging 
a tributary of the Tigris, of some barracks erected by the 
Turks about a century ago. There we refreshed ourselves 
w^ith numerous melons, and saw the black tents of the Pasha 
pitched some way to the north ; for he was on his slow way 
southwards for the winter. 

It was the last day's ride to Mosul, and was terribly 
long over the same kind of country, diversified by no 
events, except that we began to meet caravans starting 
towards the north, and pass groups of Kurd or Arab en- 
campments, with goats and cattle feeding on the parched 

Dark came ou suddenly as it does in autumn in the South, 
and we found ourselves nowhere near villages or water. So 
r rode on with the cook and groom to find a camping place 
in the direction which the Arabs, whom we passed, pointed 
out, and found on the bank of the Tigris a fine camping 
ground near a village. We unloaded, and having prepared 
the tether for the horses, and procured some milk for the 
children, sat down to await the rest of the party. But we 
waited in vain, discharging our revolvers to let them know 
where we were, until we determined that they must have gone 
to the village of Hamadiyah, further south, and pictured to 
ourselves the awful state they would be in without either cook 
or groom to comfort man or beast. We found them on a much 
inferior camping ground further from the river, and near a 
ruined village full of thieves. There was also a party of 
good folk, Mosulis of the Presbyterian persuasion, who 
Imd journeyed out, native fashion, to meet the Americans 

238 October 13 

and escort them to the city. In spite of this, and the 
noises in the camp, for the servants were growing cheery 
with the prospect of arrival, wo slept a righteous and 
refreshing sleep, and rose to a leisurely breakfat^t at six 


Mosul 239 


The Two Cities on the Tigris. 

" Nineveh of old is like a pool of water. . , . Ninereh is laid waste ; 
who shall bemoan her ? Whence shall I seek oomforters for thee ? " — Nahum 


Bt eight o'clock we had started^ a strange assortment of 
Westerns and Easterns of town and country, for a three 
hours' ride into Mosul. Like most Oriental towns, Mosul has 
a glamour of beauty spread over it by distance, especially 
when one approaches from the low western hills toward 
Uamadiyah ; and the minarets and domes crowning the vast 
walls, and circled with gardens that stretch all round 
the river, are bathed with the hazy light of morning. Out 
to the east are mountains climbing higher and higher up 
from Jebel Maqlub to the ranges of Hakkari on the 
Persian borders. But the illusion passes, like a ^lirage on 
the plain ; and riding along the dusty road it becomes clear 
that the walls are mouldy, and the gate half -ruined; until, as 
we come to a small monument built just outside the western 
gate of the Arabs by grateful Roman Catholics to a Moslem 
benefactor, all the filth and squalor strikes one sensibly of 
this meanest of rich and prosperous towns. For such it is 
still, carrying on in its name, from which we have derived the 
word for muslin, formerly one of its chief manufactures, the 
tradition of wealth and magnificence in which it once rivalled 

The modern town of Mosul is the capital of a third-class 
'* Walayat,*' the seat of a Pasha, or Wali, and contains a large 
garrison. Its inhabitants, which number about seventy 

240 MoHul 

thousand^ or less, divida themselves as usual into ChristiaDs, 
Jews, and Moslems. The former are subdivided into Old 
Syrians, one thousand houses; Chaldseans {i.e., Papal Nes- 
torians), fifteen hundred; Papal Syrians, four hundred; and 
adherents of the American Presbyterian Missions, thirty. 
The rest are Jews, who live here in large numbers; and 
Moslems, either Turks, Kurds, or Arabs. The town lies on 
the west shore of the Tigris, almost exactly opposite the 
mounds that mark the site of Nineveh, or, rather, that part of 
it which enclosed the palace of Sennacherib. 

A few ragged zaptiehs lounged in the gate, a great 
rambling place where people of all kinds sat and talked, 
doing business or watching the world go by ; and they eyed 
us suspiciously until they saw that we had men of worth in 
our company, and among others a Hakim, name as of a golden 
key in a land of ignorant practitioners. We passed the gates, 
and entered the filthy streets, roofed over with oak branches 
to keep off the scorching sun; and as we rode, it seemed 
we had never seen such mean and desolate buildings. With- 
out a fine fa9ade, or one really beautiful mosque, the only 
feature of the town is its crowd of minarets, all but a very 
few stripped of the blue tiles which once made them glitter 
in the sun. One still stands covered with these lovely tiles : 
and another there is, a monster built of stone, and faced with 
fine bricks set in diamond and many another curious design. 
The story runs how a great and pious Moslem once built the 
great mosque, and added the two-galleried minaret that 
stands down by the river side of the town. It brought great 
fame to the builder, who soon was asked to build another 
more beautiful for the Pasha of the town. His friends said 
no, he could not ; he was old, and his skill was gone ; but his 
spirit was stirred, and he vowed he would build a fairer, and 
that with his left hand. And this he did; but age was on 
him, and in witness that the left was weaker than the right 
hand, the minaret leaned a little toward the holy city of 
Meccah, pointing the Qiblah for all the town. 

The whole appearance of the town is in fact spoiled by 
the lack of good stone ; for the gypsum marble is seldom used 

Mosul. 241 

except for facing the inner walls of the courtyards. The 
contrast, therefore, between the squalid exteriors and the 
handsome, often luxurious, character of the courts is very 
noticeable. The swarms of dogs that lie about the streets do 
not add to the enjoyment of a walk. We fell upon puppy 
days in Mosul, and every comer was the temporary nursery 
of a family of curs. Some were decently clothed with hair ; 
others we longed to put out of their misery, were it not for 
the strict law forbidding to kill these dogs, the only scavengers 
of the streets ; for, foul as they often are, these dogs do good 
service in keeping Mosul clean. Just outside the door of the 
house of my kind American host was a bundle of these little 
creatures, rather more respectable than usual, which the 
children and I used to watch with some interest, as they 
progressed in the art of walking across the street. There 
were generally some small boys, too, from the neighbouring 
houses, and girls, who fed them. People in Turkey are, as a 
rule, kind to animals, even though they do not often make 
pets of any but goats or lambs. 

Let those who regret the good old days that preceded 
railways experience the unloading of a large caravan ! Was 
ever such confusion ? trains of muleteers all out of humour, 
that awful wagon rumbling over the uneven pavement, and 
followed by the white donkey and its burden of babies, and 
a crowd of supercilious Arab boys jeering at the extraordinary 
conveyance. Then strings of mules, with bells clanging, and 
women screaming, and all the world crowding into the court- 
yard to see what had arrived. 

The day passed in all the agony of unpacking, and 
receiving complimentary calls ; for it is a point of honour for 
the natives to call as soon as the horses are in the yard, 
giving all manner of advice, and getting generally in the way. 
As these callers were not for me, I was glad to escape to my 
private room, and avoid, except at meal times, all the hideous 
exasperations of a Turkish decampment. 

The house was one of those belonging to the American 
Mission, a good specimen of what Mosul houses may become, 
when improved by European adaptations, and comfortable 

242 A Moftul House. 

enough until the rain comes. Then, however, being buQt 
round courtyards, they are like wells, and for want of sunlight 
become very damp. One sees this clearly, looking down 
from the roofs, which have here this peculiarity, that they are 
enclosed by high parapets of cement or perforated tiles, 
forming most delightful retreats, where the evenings and 
nights may be spent. 

The courtyard, entered by a narrow archway from the 
street, was well paved, and contained in the centre a small 
plot of earth, where fond fancy might picture palms or orange 
trees, with groups of turbanded Turks and discreetly-veiled 
ladies discoursing on the tales of Harun-Al-Rashid. Round 
the court were ranged the living-rooms, alternating with cool 
*' aiwans," in which to receive visitors or sit and enjoy the 
afternoon air. Below were the ** sardabs,^' large underground 
vaulted rooms for a refuge from the midday sun, whose heat 
in summer is almost intolerable. Above again were rooms 
for guests ; and in two of these, with a pleasant balcony 
between, running along one side of the court, the doctor and 
I had quarters. Nearly the whole of the walls was faced 
with the rough gypsum of the place carved in flat reliefs with 
various Arabesque designs. Three other features we here 
noticed for the first time, the elegant coloured glass windows 
of the Persian kind generally placed along the top of the 
larger diwans, but now, I regret to say, going out of fashion ; 
the exquisite plaster decorated w-ith designs in blue with 
which the roofs and walls are covered ; and the beautiful 
mats, made from the river reeds, that cover all the floors. 

Mosul is a very different place from Mardin, far more 
truly Turkish in many ways, and far more conservative. It 
is this, together with the occurrence of certain events during 
my stay, that must be my excuse for lingering in a town 
that has been before more fully and with greater vividness 
described. The days passed by monotonously enough, 
occupied at first with receiving and returning of sundry 
official calls. Though I had come not intending, on account 
of the disturbed state of affairs in the province, to pursue my 
work in Mosul, nevertheless rumour travelled rapidly through 


Mosul Day by Day. 248 

the bazars, and I was soon beset by all the chief Syrians in 
the place. 

In the evening we generally rode out, a cjivalcade of 
horses and white donkeys, for a galop over the plain, or 
round the battered walls to the north of the city, to the 
river, and the sulphur springs. We would then return through 
the large quarter made desolate by the ravages of the plague 
many years since, sometimes having a hard run to reach the 
gates before they closed at sunset. Sometimes we would 
make trial trips in a carriage newly arrived for one of the 
Americans. This conveyance caused the greatest excitement 
in the mind of a certain Moslem magnate, late *' Reis," or 
mayor of Mosul. He was a man of much mechanical 
ingenuity, and filled his backyard with all manner of rubbish, 
being interested in every new scheme, whether for the more 
rapid evolution of cart-wheels, or convenient drainage of the 
sea. His house stood toward the south, outside the walls, 
and we often passed the walls on our way to the Serai or 

Along the road an unending procession went between the 
river and the town ; for just down by the post office most of 
the drinking water of the town is drawn. Sensitive sanitarians 
should avoid the spot ; for such is the result of centuries of 
water drawing, that tobacco is an indispensible weapon of 
defence. But it is a picturesque place, with the crowds of 
men and bovs in various" fashions of head-dress, and with 
long white shirts well tucked-up filling the water skins, or 
taking horses out into the stream to wash or drink. On some 
rocks just below were women beating out clothes as they 
washed them, and children pretending to do the same, or 
teasing the donkeys. Just below was the telegraph, crossing 
the river into the gardens, and passing through the walls and 
over the mounds of Nineveh, a theme for moralisers. And 
guarding the northern gate of the palace of Sennacherib still 
stands the last remaining of the great winged bulls; and 
beyond that is Jebel Maqlub, oldest of all in the jumble of 
ages from the mountains to the donkey boys, Sennacherib's 
bulls to the telegraph. And there stands like a funeral 

244 Ths Tigris. 

monument of the city, whose doom he came to tell, the monnd 
ot En-nahbi Yunas, the Prophet Jonah; now it is a holy 
" Ziyareh'' of the Moslems, who have built long since a shrine 
over the Prophet's grave, and marked him down in the roll of 
the saints of Islam.* 

Returning from the river we passed companies of solemn 
water-loaded donkeys, and were met by as many more 
galoping with empty skins and brown legged boys shrieking 
on their backs on the way down to the great river. Then we 
left the donkey boys and reached the south gate of the city, 
which faces the barracks and Serai. Here- the camels are 
unloaded outside the great arcades that stretch from within 
the gates. Hard by is the horse-market, where some of the 
finest animals in Turkey may at times be seen. And here are 
rows of vendors, under booths containing whole mountains of 
native fruits. Grapes are scarce in Mosul at the best of times, 
and were dying out with the year ; but what melons, musk 
and water, all colours ot* the rainbow ! with pumpkins and 
pomegranates, and many another southern fruit. Only the 
date had not begun its yearly exodus from Baghdad; for 
Mosul is cold in winter, and palms do not flourish there. In 
Mosul itself there is little to describe, except the wonderful 
many - coloured crowds, white - turbanded Molla, black - 
turbanded Rabbi, dark-robed priests ; on these the changes 
ring with bullying soldiers, lounging merchants, and careless 
swinging Arabs. 

From the first night that we spent in Mosul, our sleep was 
disturbed by shrill screams of w^omen. It was the ^'tahlil,'* 
by which Eastern ladies are wont to signify great joy;t 

* The MoAque contaming the flhrine is kept exceedingly holy. Mrs. Bassam, 
wife of the late English Consul, was one of the few who saw the interior ; for her 
desoription, which led Dr. Badger to consider the building to have been once a 
choroh, see Badger, i. 85. 

t Barton, " Pilgrimage to Meccah," has the following note : — " The Lu lu In, 
or ' Tahlil,* is peculiar to women, and is formed by raising the voice to its highest 
pitch, vibrating it nt the same time by rolling the tongue, whose modulations 
express now joy, now grief. To my ear it resembled the brain-piercing notes of a 
fife. Dr. Buchanan likens it to a serpent uttering human sounds." (11. 159.) 

A Syrian Wedding. 245 

to me it signified intense pain. The caui^e for making uight 
thus hideous appeared on enquiry to be the near approach of 
a wedding among the Syrians, to which I received in due 
course an invitation. The scented billet betrayed its contents, 
written on pale pink paper, and enclosed in a soft brown 
envelope. I dreaded the event not a little, and feared how 
long I should be expected to attend at a ceremony, which 
lasts usually three days without a break, and not many years 
since was maintained for a whole week. An hour before 
sunset a servant arrived to say that all things were ready, 
and to escort me through the streets to the house of Malki 
Abdullah, at whose house the wedding was. I took the pre- 
caution, having learned wisdom by an empty stomach at other 
ceremonies of this kind, to have some supper before starting, 
and set forth prepared to sit any number of hours doing 

Two large diwans were prepared for the guests, they and 
the whole courtyard being brilliantly lighted >vith lamps and 
Chinese lanterns. In one diwan the gentlemen, in another 
the ladies, were received, and an entirely different programme 
was arranged for the two parties, which did not meet until 
next morning in church. Hour after hour passed, as fresh 
guests arrived, each giving his salam, and disturbing the 
whole diwan, until he found a place suited to his rank. 
Nearly the whole company was Syrian, with the exception of 
a few Chaldaeans, of the party called " the Cold," on account 
of the indifferent zeal which they show towards the Pope and 
his propaganda. 

Arrak flowed freely, and cigarettes were handed round in 
appalling quantities, a son of the house informing me with 
family pride that he and his brother had during the week made 
fifteen hundred for the guests' consumption. " Haniyeh/' 
" Allah yahannek,'' was frequently interchanged ; one after 
another th« guests toasted each other and the bridegroom, 
until I feared that there would be none left to support the 
hero of the occasion to church. The diwan became more and 
more crowded; the grandees sat in rows along the cushions by 
the walls, myself on an erection in the right-hand comer 

246 A Syrian Wedding, 

furthest from the door. On the ground in front sat boys by 
dozens cracking pistachio nuts^ and listening to the scandal 
talked by the elders; and further down toward the door were 
the professional musiciaus. Was ever such a solemn merry- 
making ? We sat like mourning judges instead of jocund 
wedding guests. The musicians added to the solemnity ; 
their music nearly drove me into melancholic lunacy ; such a 
noise they made, and so intolerably untuneful, worse by many 
degrees than the doleful dirges by which Abu Selim thought 
at times to cheer my soul in Mardin. Truly the stranger 
suffers many woes in a strange land ! not least that which 
forces him in grievous pain to simulate consummate joy. 
Such was my lot for eight long hours that night. 

Hour after hour went by, spent in conversation on the 
wedding or the *' Fariq.'' Two people never talked together 
during these days at Mosul for five minutes without reverting 
to the subject of that unsavoury person. The beauties of 
Mosul, and the prices of such entertainments as we were 
enjoying in London, formed further topics for our talk. And 
so, varying the talk with the consumption of sweets and nuts 
innumerable, and racked by the torture of the musicians, w^e 
sat until at eleven o'clock the real proceedings of the night 

About this time one of the Syrian priests of Mosul came 
in, and the various wedding garments of the bridegroom 
were brought for him to bless, as he sat at the top of the 
diwan. Meanwhile a tight-collared, tight- breeched, exquisite, 
something of the Stamboul Efondi type, had been making 
himself conspicuous among the guests. For some reason or 
other he seemed a personage of importance ; and why, it soon 
appeared. A most important part of the wedding preparations 
was the shaving of the bridegroom, and the general setting 
in order of his head. A chair was placed upon a large cloth 
in the centre of the diwan, to which the happy man was 
conducted by the " Qarib," or groomsman, to undergo an 
hour's torture at the hands of the aforesaid exquisite. 
Grimace and flourish, pious ejaculation and cosmetic, 
occupied the two during this period, at the end of which 

A Syrian Wedding. 247 

the bridegroom had not one disorderly hair upon his 

Then came the friends of the bridegroom, all unmarried 
men, to dress him with the garments just blest by the priest. 
This was a dangerous matter ; for all the married men, being 
bound by the etiquette of the thing to consider the new 
bridegroom as their natural foe, did their best to steal each 
new garment that made its appearance. Against these 
fearful onslaughts the " friends" banded themselves, finally 
achieving immense success, and seeing the bridegroom 
arrayed like a king in gorgeous silk tunic, and rich Persian 
girdle, over which they placed a fur-lined cloak of Diarbekr 
work, flach of these garments had to be passed round the 
bridegroom three times. Compared with the rest of the 
evening this was quite an exciting hour, especially as the 
Qarib, thinking to show his fine spirit, nearly cut the 
bridegroom through the leg with the sword which, in right of 
his high office, he carried. 

Two more hours passed, while the same ceremonies were 
performed in the ladies' divan, and then it was announced 
that the horses had arrived to convey the company to church. 
It was three o'clock in the morning when wo started through 
the streets. Bride and bridegroom were, according to 
custom, on horseback, as well as the Qarib, and a few near 
relations. The others walked in a large procession behind 
the horses. In front of all two brothers of the bridegroom 
carried two huge things like tinsel Christmas-trees, hung 
about with candles, and in fact looking as gaudy and as 
cheap as would suit any Eastern mind. The .bride remained 
closely veiled all through the ceremony, and for several days 

Arrived at the west door of the church, the bride and 
bridegroom, with their relatives, were received by the priest, 
who blessed them and led them slowly and with many prayers 
up to the steps before the altar. Here incense was burned 

* Tike barber's duty in the East i« to remove every saperfluoas hair ofP the 
head, exoepting moustache, eyebrows, and hair only. The effect on the subject 
is one of displeasing smoothness. 

248 A Syrian Wedding. 

while the Gospel was read, and then, accompanied by the 
chanting of the choir, the priest laid the heads of the pair 
together, and held a fan, having a dove carved npon it, 
behind their necks. After this he took two silver chains, 
having each at the end a small cross, and passed them round 
their beads, and bound one round the neck of each. Incense 
was again burned, and more psalms chanted, while the 
procession again passed out to be received in the courtyard 
with a display of fireworks. I made my escape through fire- 
disgorging dragons, aud men who made as though they would 
devour flaming swords, and retired more dead than alive, 
after a ceremony of eleven hours, to get some sleep. The 
rest of the procession went back to the bridegroom's house, 
and inaugurated with an enormous wedding breakfast a 
three- day s^ round of festivities. My share in these I con- 
sidered to be ended with the ceremony in church. But three 
days passed, during which I believe that the merry-makers 
never slept, and it seemed to us that the Tahlil of the women 
never ceased morning or night. It was another week before 
the bride and bridegroom saw one another face to face 
unveiled, and had rest from the terrible ordeal to which those 
must subject themselves who would take unto themselves a 
husband or a wife in Mosul. 

The mounds of Kuyunjik, which cover all of the palace of 
Sennacherib that has not been destroyed or found its way 
into the British Museum, need little description, even if I 
were competent to give it, after the fascinating accounts of 
Rich and Rawlinson, and chief ot* all Sir Henry Layard. 
Nimrud Rassam, nephew of the late English Consul and 
his brother, who rendered such services to the British 
Museum and the English nation by the work he did with 
Layard, had promised to show me what there was to be seen 
on the mounds ; and early one morning he rode round to our 
gate to call for me. 

As we crossed the river everything was calm and beautiful, 
bathed in warm autumn sunshine. The bridge was crowded 
as usual, and on the further shore were ranged in rows gaily 
coloured awnings and temporary booths of oak branches. 

The Ruins of Nineveh, 249 

where sat Jew and Moslem vendors of fruit and all manner of 
cheap goods ; such a blaze of colour as one must go to the 
East to see. Under the now dry arches of the stone bridge, 
donkeys and horses were tethered, whose masters were wait- 
ing to gossip before they paid the piastre and crossed the 
bridge ; and among them were numberless children playing 
about some old rotten boat, or helping their mothers to 
wash clothes, or load donkeys with pumpkins, marrows, and 

The present course of the Tigris is a mile and a half 
west of the place where it flowed in Assyrian times, wash- 
ing the ramparts of Sennecharib^s palace ; but a galop over 
the dusty ground soon took us to some almond groves, and 
through the gap in the western walls of Kuyunjik, on the 
north side of which are the remains of the palace, and on the 
south the mound of En-nabbi Yunas. Though the mound 
on which stands the mosque, which Badger thinks from the 
interior arrangements must once have been a Christian 
church, was probably the site of an Assyrian palace or fort, 
yet so holy is the spot that no Christian can penetrate the 
buildings, far less carry on excavations. The discovery of 
the treasures buried in the great mound to the left of the 
gap in the walls occupies a large part of the description 
of Layard's explorations. The whole mound has not yet 
been explored, but it is to be hoped that one day the oppor- 
tunity for completing the work will occur. 

The western walls stretch in a south-easterly direction for 
rather more than two miles from the stream Khasear, that 
flows beneath the walls of the palace, and in the opposite 
direction, half that distance. The inner north-western wall 
extends about a mile, the distance between the north-eastern 
and the south-western reaching in one place nearly a mile and a 
half, and at the southern extremity, only 873 yards. Beyond the 
noith-eastcrn wall is an outer rampart formed by the hill that 
shuts in the stream, and strengthened by artificial means. 
Between the two, where the stream turns and enters the inner 
wall, and along the south wall, is a ditch over a hundred feet 
wide and very deep, to form a protection against the east. 

250 Serniacherlb'ff Palacv. 

from which side the city was most easily attacked. These 
walls doubtless surrounded gardens as well as the palace of 
the king, and not the whole city of Nineveh, which Layard 
considers to have been contained within the parallelogram 
enclosed by Nimrud, the original palace of Sardanapalus, the 
later palaces at Keramles and Khorsabad built by Sargon,* 
and Sennacherib's palace of Kuyunjik. These four points 
supply the necessary lines enclosing a city of three days* 
journey. For Kuyunjik is some eighteen miles from Nimrud, 
and Nimrud twelve miles from Keramles, making in all the 
sixty miles that form three days* journey in the East.f 
Tiiese facts make it unnecessary to explain the words of 
Jonah as meaning that three days were needed to proclaim 
the coming doom throughout the various quarters of the 

Little remains above ground of the palace of Sennacherib. 
One winged bull still guards the northern gate of the enclosure, 
carved from a piece of marble twelve feet square, and until 
lately in good condition ; but now its head has gone to mend 
a neighbouring mill ! A slab carved with soldiers and a 
sepulchral scene; another with the familiar subject of men 
lighting among reeds, with backgrounds of pigs and fishes, 
and cranes flying over diminutive palm trees; these are all 
that are to be seen above ground, but point to more treasure 
below. I was perfectly ignorant of the archaeology of the 
place, and had, therefore, no desire to take notes. This 
secured, perhaps, a present of a small sculptured fragment 
from the broken-down shanty that serves for a museum, but 
which contains little beyond broken glass and pottery, where 
many a lizard and scorpion finds shelter from the heat. The 
old Arab who guards the place was not a little pleased to 
have a visitor, and readily broke d(m^l the wall, in order to 
let me in, climbing on to the roof, and clearing away the 
stones from inside to make an opening. 

• Layard, iii. 615 ; ii. 247. There were, of course, later kings who rebuilt or 
added others to these palaces. 

f Cp. Layard, ii. 245, for a full discussion of the size of the city. Diodorus 
grives 480 stadia, 90 x 150, as the circuit. Op. Jonah, iii. 3. 

Sennacherih'ff Palace, 251 

A late Wali of Baghdad, taking some interest in matters 
archaeological, tried to induce the government to do something 
for the preservation of the treasures of Assyria; but after 
contracting considerable expense on his part, and meeting no 
encouragement from the government, he relinquished the 
idea, and left the ruins to the protection of the Arab, who 
readily sells Sennacherib^s head for a small bakhshish, as he 
plies round his solitary beat. 

252 The Yazidia. 


The Yazidis. 

" An ancient tale of wrong, 
Chanted from an ill-nsed race of men that till the soil, 
Sow the seed and reap the harvest with enduring toil, 
Storing yearly little dues of wheat and wine and oil ; 
Till they perish " — Tennyson, 

There is an old man, well-known to the few Englishmen who 
have visited Mosul, once an East-Syrian monk of the 
Monastery of Rabban Hormuzd, now a deacon of the Presby- 
terian community. He has a history which would be worth 
writing, especially if he wrote it himself ; for he has been a 
traveller with the manners of an Englishman and the heart of 
a Syrian ; and he has seen many troubles among his own 
people, and changes in the country from Erzingan to Mosul. 
But before all things he is a gossip ; if there is news from 
Stamboul, Shammas is the first to retail it; for is not his 
wife^s third cousin third-division clerk in the telegraph office ? 
Has the Mufti run off with a MuUa's wife ? Shammas was at 
the bottom of it, and probably supplied from his own stud 
(for he is a bit of a dealer in horse-flesh) the requisite barb. 
He deals, too, in manuscripts and ancient books, Persian, 
Arabic, Syriac ; and once on a time over-reached himself in 
this pursuit. Among some books, which I was examining, he 
showed me one more especially commendable. Its actual 
personality so shamelessly belied its decent age and virtue as 
described by Shammas, that he drew forth a request that 
even if he loved gold, he should spare my folly. But with a 
candour, quite disarming rebuke, he drew out a letter, which 

The Yazidis. 253 

he regfarded as a high testimonial to his integrity as a dealer 
in palimpsests, but, in fact, containing so sound a rating of a 

rascal, that it seemed to bear more on the subject than 

perhaps the old man would have cared to acknowledge. Yet 

he reads and understands Knglish well; truly these people 

have a strangely twisted sense of straightness, or more dullness 

than they get credit for. 

However, Shammas proved of considerable use. His 
official duties, as purveyor of gossip, and representative of the 
Presbyterians, were not heavy ; so that he was pretty well at 
my disposal during my visit to Mosul ; and at small charges 
of cigarettes and coffee, dealt out with a liberal tongue from 
his stores of historv, ancient and modern. 

It was on an evening some days before we left Mosul that 
Shammas, almost bursting with some news of importance, 
came into the courtyard, and made his way to the diwan, 
where we were enjoying the evening air before supper. First 
a Russian C'onsul was to arrive shortly at Mosul, and would 
bo followed as a necessary corollary by an English Consul. 
This he knew for a positive fact, though we were contented to 
allow the fact to slumber on in the caves of rumour. But 
that very afternoon he had been to the Serai, and there heard 
from his wife's third cousin, and from his son-in-law's nephew, 
who was secretary to the Fariq, that a^vful news had arrived 
from the army in the Sinjar, and that in consequence the 
band had ceased to play at evenings in the Serai. 

This Fariq, Osman Pasha, Lieutenant-General of the 
Turkish army, of whom we had heard such ominous rumours 
in Mardin, had come with a definite commission from the 
Sublime Porte, so it wa.s said, to perform three things in 
the provinces of Mosul and Baghdad ; first, to collect twenty 
years' arrears of taxes; second, to induce the Arabs to 
exchange their nomad form of life for one more settled ; third, 
to convert the Yazidis of Jebel Sinjar and Sheikhan from 
their worship of devils. The first object was quite legitimate ; 
the second harmless, because impossible ; the third was a 
more serious matter, and with its attempted accomplishment 
wo are here concerned. 

254 Fighting the Yazidis. 

The soldiers of the Fariq had been sent to the Yazidi 
villages on the lower slopes of the Sin jar mountains, and 
were preparing to loot the houses, from which the inhabitants 
had not had time to carry their property into security among 
the I'ocks, when some of the chiefs came with" an avowal of 
Islam, and with a promise, if their villages were spared, to 
conduct the soldiers by night and surprise the villages higher 
up. This was readily agreed to, and soon after nightfall a 
start was made. What was the surprise of the soldiers when, 
on entering a gorge half-way to the summit, they were 
received by a rapid succession of volleys, while their treach- 
erous guides hurried on to join their friends, between whom, 
stationed in two companies on each side of the gorge, they 
had led the soldiers. To make matters worse, the soldiers 
found that very few of their own shots took effect, the 
gunpowder in the cartridges having been secretly replaced 
by dust. It may seem incredible, but it is said that not 
infrequently peculating officials take these means to enrich 
themselves. At any rate the unlucky soldiers, unlucky, too, 
that this persecution of the Yazidis was little to their taste, 
made the best retreat they could, but found by this time the 
villages deserted and little left to eat. The belief that a 
hundred were killed was confirmed by a soldier brought in 
wounded to Mosul a few days later. 

Four days after the crisis came. A telegram arrived from 
Stamboul demanding from the Wali a full explanation of 
the conduct of the Fariq. If the news, which had reached 
Stamboul, was true, who gave leave that the soldiers should 
be ordered out without a notice to the Commander-in-Chief, 
the Sar-Askar at Stamboul, and who would be responsible if 
any of the troops or Imperial subjects were killed ? The 
warrant had been to collect the taxes and convert the Yazidis 
from worshipping devils ; if blood was shed, who was to 
answer for it ? The Fariq recalled his son and the troops 
from the Sinjar, and sat down to await the inevitable, to 
wit, an inspector from Stamboul. Meanwhile he would 
mature plans for hoodwinking him, or making it worth his 
while to hoodwink the Government. A month later I met 

The Fariq. 255 

the inspector on his way from Aleppo to Diarbekr, so that 
the Fariq had good time to weave his web. 

The same evening that Shammas brought his news, the 
heavens declared against the outrageous Fariq. We heard 
suddenly a great blowing of trumpets, beating of drums, 
and general holloaing which soon drew us up on to the 
roof. The moon was eclipsed, and it was the duty of all 
men of sound faith and proper principles to assemble on 
their roofs, and with fire and tongs, tin kettle and drum, 
conspire to drive away the dragon that would otherwise 
without doubt devour the gentle moon. It was a glorious 
total eclipse, but the natives were far too busy with the 
voracious dragon to think of the beauty of the sight. The 
perfectly clear air and immense space of horizon, with all 
the subtle beauty of an eastern night, combined to form 
one of the most lovely sights imaginable. 

To explain the significance of Shammas' news, we must 
retrace our steps and describe what had already happened at 
Mosul. At first the Pasha, although a man of harsh manners 
and harsher methods, won golden opinions. His victims, 
Moslem and Christian, abused him equally ; for he favoured 
no class or creed in his attempt to reform the financial state 
of the Walayet. The magnitude of his task may be judged 
from the fact that in one village a thousand houses figured iu 
the revenue returns as three hundred; in another four 
thousand sheep dwindled down to three hundred. A worse 
state of affairs occurs when, as not infrequently happens, a 
prosperous village dwindles, and a population of three hundred 
families is taxed according to a long obsolete assessment,- 
made when there were perhaps eight hundred families. This 
is the normal state of things in some parts of Turkey, being 
due partly to the bad distributing, partly to the bad method 
of collecting the taxes. These things, however, have been 
already dealt with ; so it remains only to tell how the Pasha 
accomplished his task. Twenty years of taxes is a large 
amount to pay at three months' notice ; but it had to be done. 
If any community failed to do so, its members were collected 
in their church or mosque, and soldiers set to smear their 

25(3 The '^ Conversion" of the Tazidia. 

faces with honey, and drive them, with hands tied behind 
their backs, through the streets, a prey to antumn swarms of 
flies. Others were beaten, others imprisoned, or made to 
undergo every indignity, until each community had paid up 
its full amount.* The last straw was laid on the camel, when 
the Pasha attempted in Mosul, of all conservative and slowly- 
moving places in this world, to fly in the face of ancient 
Mohammedan custom, as had been done in Aleppo and other 
towns, and tax the women. Here the soldiers themselves 
refused to obey ; he had gone too far, and infringed the old- 
established right of Moslems, that the harem should remain 
exempt from the inquisition of tax-collectors. 

This part of his work was reaching completion, and the 
province was poorer to the extent of some thirty thousand 
pounds, which, owing to the laxness of the Government, had 
been allowed to fall into arrear, when Osman Pasha turned 
his attention to the '* conversion '^ of the Yazidis. He had 
signally failed to persuade the Sbammar Arabs to give up 
their nomad life; for having accepted his invitation to a parley 
in Mosul, they had come in all the simple pomp of the desert, 
and after listening to the kindly proposals on their behalf, 
wished him a polite " Peace,^^ and galloped oflF some hundred 
miles to the south-west, muttering that the Pasha would need 
rise very early in the morning to catch that Arab "the meek 
in spirit '^t — and more regarding sleeping weasels. 

The Yazidis, however, of whose history more in a subse- 
quent chapter, were already a home-keeping people, frugal 
and industrious, cleanly, and in every way but that of their 
religion commendable subjects of the Porte. They, therefore, 
had not the same means of escape. Invited to Mosul, forty 
of their chief men came, and listened gravely to all the Pasha 

* It has already been explained how in all snch matters the QoTemment 
reg^ards each commnnity as a whole, and not eaoh indiyidnal as a separate 
person to be taxed. I am indebted to Mr. Hormnzd Bassam for the foUowing 
note : — " Formerly the people used to be taxed indiyidnally, bnt the different 
communitieH elected to be taxed coUectively. themselves levying rates on eaoh 
person according to his person and income." 

t A term of polite conyersation referring to the speaker — " El faqir." 

The '^ Gonversion^' of the Yazidu<, 257 

had to SHy. There was the council of the Province present, 
many ''Ulimas^' learned in the law, and some few Christians; 
and in the presence of these men he tried to turn them from 
the error of their ways. It was unseemly in the realm of the 
Khalifa that any should worship such a foul creed ; let them 
turn, and high pl«ce would be theirs, please God, and wealth, 
and titles, and mullas would bo sent to bring up their children 
in the way. None responded ; Christianity they wore less 
unready to accept ; tlio Christians were their friends and 
fellow-sufiFerers ; Islam hfid always cursed and persecuted 
them. No, they would live as their fathers had lived, 
remaining Yazidis, sons of Yazid. Let the Pasha remember 
what freedom had been granted to them to worship according 
to their own faith forty years before. 

I cannot do better than relate the rest of this story in the 
words of Shammas himself, only omitting or correcting 
what is plainly wrong or exaggerated. 

''When Osman Pasha saw that they wore firm in their 
faith, he began to torture them, casting them into prison, 
so that some died, others fled, and a few, through fear of 
these tortures and a painful death, accepted the faith of 
Islam ; apparently, and not in truth ; silently, not from love 
of it; and that is a lie and hypocrisy. Then ho sent soldiers 
to the villap^es, where the Yazidis dwell, and ordered them to 
accept Islam or be slain. And under the commands of his 
son, Osman Bog, the soldiers slew in all some five hundred 
men ; so at least the Pasha confessed in his diwan, when he 
upbraided their chiefs as the cause of death to so many of 
their people. 

*' The pretty women and girls he took captive, marrying 
them by force to his soldiers. Some he took and cast into 
prison, every day threatening and torturing them to become 
Moslems. And one, Mirza Beg, the civil chief of the 
Yazidis, shame be to him, forsook his faith, and from fear, 
and to gain money and a title, became a Moslem. Of the 
noble firmness of Ali Beg we will tell later. 

'* And when Osman Beg came to Bah-Shika and Bahizani, 
the chief villages of the Yazidis, that lie among the olive 


258 The YazuUs, 

groves below Jebel Maqlub, he bade the public crier proclaim 
through the streets that on the morrow the house of every 
man refusing to accept the faith of Islam would be plundered, 
the honour of his family, his wife and daughters, taken from 
him by force, and he and his sons slain by the sword. Oh 
what a night of sorrow ! What a bitter hour ! for the grief, 
and the wailing, and the lamentations for fear of what was 
come upon them ! Never was such calamity as now came 
upon them. Morning came, and those Yazidis that had been 
wandering and in flight, assembled, and for two hours of the 
day raised a sorrowful wailing, men and women, maidens and 
young men, casting dust and ashes on their heads. Seeing 
this availed nothing, but that by force they must obey, they 
went to the son of the Fariq in great perplexity and sorrow. 
And as they stood before him, he began to take their 
declarations one by one, telling them, ' Say that you have 
renounced the religion of Yazid, and taken that of Mohammed; 
confess and say, '' We testify that there is no god but God, 
and Mohammed is the prophet of God ; "* and say, *' A curse 
upon Satan, and upon the king of the Peacocks.'^ ' So he 
compelled them, and tore open the fronts of their shirts, in 
token that they were Moslems, and sent them to their homes. 
" Then ho gathered their children, and placed them with 
a muUa in the mosque to learn the Moslem faith. And he 
ordered them to be present every day five times at prayers, 
and wash themselves with the ordained ablutions, greater 
and less.t From terror they did so, but during prayers were 
reviling and in secret cursing. Then seeing that their 
thoughts were still with their old creed, Osman Beg tore 
down their shrines, which it is appointed for them to visit, 
as on Fridays and at other set times, and light the lamps in 
accordance with their faith. And the shrine of Sheikh 
Mohammed, which is by the cucumber garden of Bahizani, 
he demolished, and of Melki Miran, near the fountain of 

* The " Kaliinat iRlam," the recital of which implies the adoption of the 
<5recd and is irrevocable. 

f For these Moslem customs see Lane or Barton, or any good authority. 

The Yazidis. 259 

running water; and the shrine of Esh-Shadak by the threshing- 
Hoor ; and of Sheikh Hasan^ between the Chaldaean church 
and the olive-yards, where one enters coming from Mosul. 
All these, and others, he destroyed, making of them a heap 
of ruins. And he left in the villages soldiers, and mullas to 
teach the children, if by any means he might j eally draw 
them to the faith of the Moslems. 

** But Amir Ali Beg, their chief in religious and civil 
affairs, after much imprisonment and torture did not obey. 
When the Fariq saw him thus obstinate, clinging fast to his 
religion, he was wroth ; for had he given way, then many 
Yazidis would willingly have become Moslems ; then thinking 
it better not to keep him as an example of firmness to his 
people, he banished him with soldiers to Kastamuni, a fort 
near Stamboul. 

*' But worst of all was what happened to those who refused 
to change their faith. The men were cruelly tortured, and 
killed, the women taken away, outraged, or killed. One 
Sheikh was cut into many pieces and thrown over a rock ; 
another ground like corn between two mill-stones. The 
women were at the mercy of the soldiers. Some fled, and to 
escape dishonour cast themselves from a high rock and were 

" Then Osman Beg heard that a number of young girls 
were hidden near Ihe olive groves in some long grass ; 
j^avagely he ordered fire to be set all round, and with screams 
too fearful to hear, they were all burned to death. A young 
girl, soon to be a mother, was pursued to the Syrian church, 
where the priest gave her refuge. There the soldiers found 
her, and having committed unspeakable things, killed her 
near the sanctuary. The Kurds and other robbers of the 
mountains, encouraged by these things, came down, and 
added much cruelty and outrage to what was already done. 

'' Now before this occurred the Fariq had sent word to 
Stamboul that all the Yazidis had willingly accepted the faith 
of Islam, and other lies, as that the taxes were fully collected, 
and the Arabs had submitted to the life of villages ; which 
was all a lie and a delusion, by which he would show his 

8 2 

260 The ''Cnnvrrswn" of the Yazidis, 

loyalty and service to the Empire, such as no one before had 
shown. But when he saw the Yazidis, indeed, not obeying,, 
he charged some among the Moslems and Christians of the 
town, writing that the Consuls and many important men had 
persuaded the Yazidis to resist him. Many he imprisoned, 
and some he tortured, gaining reproach from all good men. 
So much he did, that the bazars wore closed, and the people 
in uproar armed themselves and prepared for battle. Fear- 
ing therefore what the people would do, he ordered that a 
hundred mullas and efendis should become imams and 
teachers for the Yazidis; for their owu pleasure and advantage 
he did this, that in return they might praise him. But when 
they went to the villages they found that all the Yazidis had 
fled, or were slain, or were in prison. But giving heed to 
their work, they brought children of the Kurds and of their 
own people, so that they might earn their money. As the 
Fariq deceived the Government, so they deceived him. 

'* Still failing to attain his object, and fearing the govern- 
ment, whom he had deceived, he forbade any man to go to 
the telegraph, and forbade the clerk to send any message 
which he had not first seen. Then he bv force took the 
seals of the Council ot* the province, and made them affix 
them to a paper declaring how all the desires o£ the Sultan 
were attaiued ; and he forbade any man to visit the consuls, 
using to them and towards the Americans most vile language, 
saying that they encouraged the Yazidis. So he deceived 
the Sultan ; but so ill at ease he was, and so fearful for his 
life, that he ordt*red music to play continually for his relief, 
and that he might escape the reproaches of his conscience. 

'' Thus have we written brieflv an account of these most 
detestable matters.'' 

I have written a full account of these events for several 
reasons; partly because the Yazidis are of considerable 
interest in themselves; partly because these outrages far sur- 
pass any that have been committed ior many years, being 
perpetrated, not only in the name of the government and by 
a high official claiming direct authority from the Sultan, but 
also in direct contravention to the firman of 184-7 grfinting 

Who w to Blame? 261 

the free exercise of their religion to the Yazidis. The 
results, too, are far reaching. At least four hundred people 
were killed ; hundreds of acres left unsown ; a whole province 
drained of its resources, and crippled for years ; and all that 
happens is that an inspector is sent, and the author of all 
this brutality imprisoned. 

Of the central administration in Turkey I know little and 
say nothing. It is reported of it by some who know that it 
is good. Further, I firmly believe his Majesty to have been 
ignorant, and purposely kept so, of what was being done in 
his name. He is a humane Sovereign, almost superstitiously 
averse to the shedding of blood ; nor do I believe any more 
than the Moslems of Mosul, with whom I spoke frequently, 
that his orders went beyond the establishment of legitimate 
means of converting of Yazidis. 

And the moral is this : England and certain other powers 
find it to their advantage to maintain Turkey in her present 
position. This policy may be right, as I think that those who 
best know Turkey agree that it is. But this fact is clear : 
that if we do so maintain a Mohammedan state in power, it 
is our duty to see she does not abuse it, and recognise that 
influence must be maintained not by crying wolf at every 
imaginary outrage, not by encouraging disloyalty, not by 
idiotic abuse of the Turk and all his deeds, but by showing 
that our Government is one that can be trusted, whether 
Conservative or Liberal be in power, and that whatever we 
do, we will keep our treaties, and guard the rights wisely of 
our fellow religionists in Turkey. 

The truth is that here as elsewhere our economy has 
made fools of us. An English consul is still looked on as a 
repository of honour, and a support against oppression. Yet 
we roam from Baghdad to Aleppo before we see a consul 
worthy of the name. On the importance of guarding our 
trade stress is not here laid, though it should be if that 
argument will touch our shopkeeper pockets. We have a 
higher trust, and at times the traveller simply bums with 
shame to hear what men. Christian and Moslem, say of this 
England, to which they once looked with such faith. Men 

262 Who is to Blarney 

speak of the time when the sword will pass on from the 
Yazidi to the Jew, and from the Jew to the Chvistiau ; and, 
when that comes, perhaps someone will recommend a remon- 
strance to the Sublime Porte, or send an unpaid vice-consul 
to Mosul. To the fact that there was no consul of the type 
of the much-honoured Christian Eassam at Mosul at this 
time, I believe w^as largely due the outrages of which I was 
the helpless spectator.* 

* The Appendix contains on accoont of the Yazidi people and beliefs, drawn 
partly from the accounts of other trayeUers, partly from their own books. 
During the last year a member of the family of Rassam has been appointed 
Her Majesty's Vice-Consul in Mosul. 

Mosul 263 


The Monastery of Mar Mattha, and the Syrians of 


I HAD hoped before I left Mardin that it would be possible to 
combine a visit to the headquarters of the Yazidis at Sheikh 
AMi with a stay at the Syrian monastery of Mar Mattha, 
which lies nearer Mosul in the same direction. But circum- 
stances had compelled me to relinquish the former plan, and 
content myself with a visit to the monastery and, if possible, 
a ride to the Assyrian sites of Nimrud and Khorsabad. Mar 
Mattha is in general known by the name of Sheikh Mattai, 
in accordance with the frequent custom of sheltering a 
Christian saint beneath a Moslem title.* Before starting, I 
ciilled upon the French Consul, from whom letters of intro- 
duction had secured much kindness and hospitality, in order 
to ask his opinion whether the expedition would be safe. He 
is a native of Damascus, brought up as an European, and a 
very ardent Roman Catholic. The last is a necessary qualifi- 
cation for consular service with a government that, fighting 
with the Church and religion at home, considers priests and 
Jesuits as valuable articles of* export to lands where their 
beliefs will make them useful propagandists. The Consul is 
a great student of Cufic, and has lined his library with big 

* Elijfkh is known as Al Khndhr, the green one. S. George is also known by 
this name, probably to hoodwink the Moslems. It is hard to imagine why Elijah 
should be such a popular Saint all through northern Turkey, unless he has 
usurped some of the regard paid to S. George. 

:16^ Mosul. 

black inscriptions, looking neariy ft** grim as the brass rubbings 
with which antiquarian country clergy in England make their 
halls repulsive. He showed me a pretty little collection of 
antiquities, chiefly Babylonian, besides some beautiful 
specimens of Persian and Arabic caligraphy, among which 
was a magniticcnt copy richly illuminated of Sa'di's poems, 
and one of the small octagon Korans so prized by col- 

In answer to my inquiries about the mountains, he assured 
me that there was no danger, although, like a true Oriental, 
he would not like to take the responsibility of advising me to 
go there. However, I determined to brave the risks, and 
went off to see the Wali, and get permission to go, and a 
guard of police to take with me. Such a proceeding was 
([uite unusual, and only necessitated by the state in which all 
that part of the country had been thrown by the late persecu- 
tions. I found the Wali in the best of humours, making his 
common old jokes and wagging his empty old head, so that the 
two zaptiehs were easily secured, without the usual reference 
to the " Fariq ; " and I prepared to start early the next 
morning for a three days' excursion on the eastern side of the 

Xext morning only one zaptieh arrived, with whom I 
started without waiting for the second. A driving wind had 
set up the river, stirring up quite a little sea, and making the 
bridge of boats rock and creak as wo passed over it. This 
bridge is made half of boats and half of stone, the river being 
too rapid in winter to allow a stone bridge to be built across 
mid-stream, either by the Turks, or the French, who last 
made the attempt. So a number of great clumsy boats are 
fastentul side by side, covered with poles and brushwood, and 
firmly beaten down with earth on the toj) ; and this mass is 
allowed, when the flood time comes, to swing right round 
along the shore, so that all the trafiic has to be performed by 
means of rafts that j^ly endlessly backwards and forwards 
across the swollen river. 

The zai)tieh secured us from any inquiries at the custom 
house or from the guards who lounged at the town end of the 

A Great Highway. 265 

bridge, and we passed in safety the long strings of camels 
and crowds of country people who all day long are crossing 
and re-crossing the bridge. It was a glorious view down the 
great river* towards the south, with swelling domes, and 
half-ruined khans and cofEee house stretching along its 
banks ; and in the water crowds of men and women and boys, 
some drawing water, others performing matutinal ablutions, 
others playing in full enjoyment of the foetid smells that 
haunt the river shore. A little way down some men were 
loading half-a-dozen donkeys with melons and pumpkins 
they had. floated down the river ; and there in mid-stream 
was one of those great '^ kelleks,'' rafts floated on numerous 
skins, that have borne the trade from Nineveh to Basra since 
the days of Cyrus and Herodotus. 

As soon as we had crossed the river, we were nearly 
blinded by the dust, of which the air was so full that it 
was impossible to see more than a few yards ahead. This 
lasted for about an hour, until we were past the mounds and 
through the walls 6f Nineveh, and out upon the level country 
under Jebel Maqlub. There were numerous groups of black 
tents, with their accompanying sheep and horses tended by 
the little urchins of the tribe, some belonging to Arabs, and 
others to the " Kochers,'' as the nomad Kurds are called. 
Beyond these was nothing but broad fields, all bare and 
unploughed this year on account of the persecutions. We 
passed a few ruined Yazidi shrines and a large village 
before we reached the rising ground and the dark olive 
groves under the hills. It is said that olives do not flourish 
out of reach of sea air ; but here were magnificent groves, 
heavy with fruit, and more carefully irrigated and tended 
than any trees I had yet seen. Many belong to the monas- 
tery, others to the Syrian Mosulis, who own the Christian 
houses in the villages of Bah-Shikah and Bahizani. As we 
rode through the former, marks of the late onslaught were 
traceable on every side. Heaps of stones and plaster, and 

* The Tigris is called by the Arabs, *' Shat " the Arrow, from the extreme 
rapidity of ita current. 

266 Deir-eS'SheiJch MattaL 

here and there a broken wall, were all that remained of 
the Yazidi shrines and houses. The chief feature that former 
travellers remarked in these villages, the little clusters of 
conical white shrines, the Yazidi " Shaqs/' was gone ; and 
in their place stood a new white-plastered mosque, looking 
ghastly out of the ashes from which it had risen. Thirty or 
forty soldiers lounged about the village, reminding the 
people how noble a thing it is to be a Moslem, and slay 
professors of a foreign creed. Even the Christians did not 
seem happy, but looked at us in a cowed way, while Yazidis, 
thinking it was some government inspector, slunk away into 
the shelter of the houses. The Syrians, who number about 
thirty houses in this village, were busy building a new church. 
They were very proud of it, and pressed me to stay a night 
with them, saying how much their landlord, Abdunnur, 
did for them, and that a friend of his would be doubly 
welcome. But thinking that I should do neither them nor 
myself any good by remaining in the village, filled as it was 
with soldiers, I mounted and made my way on towards the 

It was rough riding across the spurs of the hills to Kopan, 
and thence to Malleh, a village at the base of Jebel Maqlub, 
on the almost perpendicular face of which was built the 
monastery, clinging like a swallow^s nest against a wall. 
From the village it seemed scarcely credible that there could 
be any way up the rock, nor was any visible. And when we 
reached the path, it had much the appearance of those that 
lead up to hillside pagodas on antique china plates, scooped 
out and banked up on the rocky side of the steep. As we 
neared the top, leading our horses in Indian file, two monks 
looked out over the high w^all upon us straight below them, 
where they could have dropped a stone upon our heads ; and 
half feared when they saw the zaptieh that they were 
honoured by an ofiicial visit, to demand the taxes, which the 
Fariq was threatening to extort for the convent sheep. There 
were two monks in the monastery, one old and rather deaf, 
who had spent most of his life in Midhiat, and had come to 
pass his remaining days at Mar Mattha. The second was a 

Deir '68- Sheikh Mattai. 267 

young man, ordained Rahab only two years since, but 
being a trustworthy and well-educated man, was obtaining 
considerable influence, and had almost the entire manage- 
ment of the place, even when the Bishop was there. 
For it is part of the mismanagement of things among the 
Syrians that the small diocese of Mosul has two Bishops, 
while the great Jebel Tur district has only the same 

As soon as we had been greeted with an ''Upon my head 
you come in peace ! " and the younger man had reverently 
kissed the Patriarch's letter, we went to feed our horses, and 
house them comfortably for the night. The monk then led us 
to a pleasant diwan at the very top of the building, where 
water was brought, and grapes, while he disappeared to 
prepare the customary cup of coffee. A servann then came 
up with a hen, which he had with diflBculty caught, and 
proceeded to slay and pluck just outside our door in view of 
the evening meal. Refreshed with grapes and coffee, I then 
went out with the younger monk to see the monastery and its 
surroundings. It was a strange place indeed, almost inacces- 
sible, with a few trees, mostly figs and apricots, and pasture 
here and there among the rocks enough to feed the convent's 
flock of four hundred sheep. None but a recluse could have 
chosen such a spot, although the air is glorious, and even in 
summer, when Mosul is intolerable, one may be as comfortable 
here as on the hills about Mardin. During the hottest 
months many Mosul families find their way hither, to escape 
from the heat of the town, and make keif in the monastery or 
at the grotto just beside it. For this purpose several of the 
richer Syrians have combined to rebuild the monastery, but 
in a manner more adapted to family life than the require- 
ments of a place of retreat. Nevertheless, the place has 
benefited in so far as it is no longer a ruin, but a very 
comfortable abode ; and only in the hot weather does it at all 
serve the purpose of pleasure- makers, such as love to frequent 
Deir-el-Za'aferan. The situation requires that the rooms be 
built on terraces one above another, giving the whole a very 
irregular appearance. It is built almost entirely of the rough 

2f)8 Deir-eS'Sheikh Mattai. 

concrete commonly used in Mosul, instead of the hard stone 
of which the mountain is formed. Outside it looks rough, 
and likely to fall to pieces ; but it is well built, and the rooms 
within are clean and comfortable.* 

A little to the west of the great gate is a large cave, from 
the roof of which water continually drips. Here is the 
great place for making keif, for beiug in itself very cool, 
and thickly shaded in front by fruit trees of all sorts, planted 
on the K'vel grass before the opening, it forms a delicious 
retreat. There was a little garden, where leeks and lettuces, 
and even a little tobacco grew ; and on one side w^as a 
flourishing row of beehives, made, as usual in these parts, of 
huge earthenware pots sealed up at both ends with mud, 
which could be broken away when the honey was to be taken. 
Under one of the dripping stones was a large basin cut out of 
the rock, in which the water collected ; it had a strong mineral 

Far over the plains, storms were sweeping in quick 
.succession from the east, where the Gumar winds down to the 
Kliazir, until both together meet the Great Zab, and 
fall below Nimrud into the Tigris. Westward, over 
the setting sun, all was clear, and the hills of the 
Sinjar stood out clear above the plain. Bad weather 
seemed to be coming. The whole scene reminded me irre- 
jsistibly of Scott's magnificent description of a storm at the 
Convent of Mont Saint Victoire, just such a place as this, 
where the miftc en scene serves to heighten the tragic fate of 
Queen Margaret of England. It was a glorious view ; Mosul 
lay like a small village, in spite of all its domes and minarets 
on the banks of the Tigris, which curled serpent- like down to 
the sea. Behind were the Sinjar hills and the limitless extent 
of blue, and ruddy plain. A thin rain came on as the sun 
went down ; and instead of the crier calling the faithful to 
prayer, a little bell kept tinkling for the monks and scanty 
shepherds to attend vespers. 

* About 1830 tho place wan plunderGd by tho Kurdish Pa«ha of Bawanduz, 
4uid has only lately been reBtored. 


The Tomb of Bar Hehrmm, 26^ 

The church is a large plain building, chiefly interesting as 
containing the tomb of the great Bar Hebrasus,* known in 
the west more generally as Abulfaragius, who, ordained at 
Tripolis, and wandering between Malatia and Antioch, became 
in 1264 A..D., Metropolitan of Mosul. The number of his ^ 
writings is great, and varying in kind from a treatise on bells 
to an universal history of mankind. Some books inTifs own 
handwriting are said still to exist at Jazirah ; and every 
monastery of the Syrians contains some copies of parts of his 
numerous works. There is an interesting story of how, being 
greatly in favour with Hulaku Khan, he went to Baghdad ; 
and there on the occasion of his visit, the Eucharist was 
celebrated on Easter-day by the united clergy of Jacobites 
and Nestorians. He lies buried with his brother Barsome in 
the '^ Beit Qadishe " of the church, and over them is placed 
the inscription: 

'^ This is the grave of Mar Gregorios John, and of Mar 
Barsome, his brother, the children of the Hebrew, on 
Mount Elpep.'' t 

'^ In his life, ho was an elegant writer of the Syriac and 
Arabic tongues, a poet, physician, and historian, a subtle 
philosopher, and a moderate divine. In his death, his funeral 
was attended by his rival, the Nestorian Patriarch, with a 
train of Greeks and Armenians, who forgot their disputes, 
and mingled their tears over the grave of a rival." % 

The church is peculiar in having the " Beit Qadishe '^ 
within the church, and not joined to the south wall, as is 
more usual. It contains, too, a kind of double chancel of an 
unusual plan, there being two sanctuaries instead of the more 
usual three; for the space generally occupied by the third 
aisle and sanctuary on the north, is here taken up 
by empty rooms and the " Beit Qadishe." Near the 

• In A.D. 1244, Bar Hebrasus went from Malatia on the EaplirateH, at that 
time the seat of the Patriarchate, to Antioch. 

In A.D. 1000, John Ebn Abdon, Patriarch, removed from Antioch to Malatia. 

t Cp. Badger, i. 97. Elpep, the Syriac name of Jebel Maqlab. He waft bom 
1225 A.D. 

J Gibbon, ch. xlyii. 

*270 Deir-€8-Sheikh MattaL 

church was another building where many of the Syrian 
Bishops are buried ; and in a grotto just below the 
monastery, the Rahab pointed out the place where lived M«r 
Behnam, the son of the Assyrian king Sennacherib, who slew 
both his son and his daughter Sara for embracing Christianity. 
The portrait of " Sittna " Sara is still to be seen painted life- 
size upon a large pillar in the church of the monastery of Mar 
Behnam, near Ximrud, now the property of the Papal 

The Rahabs talked very eagerly about the prospects of 
opening a school for the Syrians of Mosul, and were anxious 
that it should bo established at the monastery, away from the 
interference of outsiders, and in a quiet place where the youth 
could learn more readily the "wav of the Church." This, no 
doubt, was a monk's view of the matter ; but, after all, it 
would be a gloomy place for a lot of boys. 

It was a splendid night, with a bright moon ; but the 
lightning played all along the horizon, threatening rain. 
Early next morning a fine rain began to come down, and 
seemed likely to increase. The threatening weather, com- 
bined with the dangerous condition of the country, which the 
monks said that even our zaptieh would not counterbalance, 
made me determine to ride straight back to Mosul. With 
many regrets at the shortness of our visit, the monks bade us 
good-bye, expressing hopes that something would be done to 
help their poor neighbours the Yazidis, the worst accounts of 
whose treatment they amply confirmed. 

It was still harder work going down the mountain path 
than it had been to ascend, and we were heartily glad to 
reach the village Malleh, and the stream below. The zaptieh 
was in the worst possible temper, for he had brought an 
unshod colt to ride, not knowing that we were going up the 
mountain, and the animal had been little benefited by the rocky 
climb. A profusion of oleanders were just coming into blossom 
along the stream, and my servant told me how, if a horse eats 
of the leaves, he will certainly die, unless he immediately 
drinks of the water running through the roots. It sounded 
like some old Odyssean myth ; but the man had his instance 

Mosul, 271 

ready, to wit, that the horse of his late master, having eaten 
of the dangerous leaf, and scorned the cure provided by God, 
dropped down within an hour dead. 

Back through the villages and olive groves we retraced 
our steps, and in a few hours found ourselves once more 
riding through the walls and standing beneath the mounds of 
Nineveh. Then passing the tomb of En-nabbi Yunas, we 
reached the river, and, crossing the bridge, threaded the 
squalid streets until we came to the house where I had found 
a temporary home. 

Mosul has been chosen by the propagandists of Rome as 
the strategic point from which to conduct operations in the 
East. It is here, therefore, that one may see most clearly in 
practice those principles which have been already enumerated 
as underlying their dealings with the natives. I had thus 
expected to find considerable state and magnificence sur- 
roundincr the two chiefs of the Roman adherents in Mosul. 
With one of these men, Mutran Behnam Benni, Bishop of 
the Papal Syrians, I had already become acquainted; the 
other, the self-styled patriarch of the Chaldaeans, had only 
just returned from a visit to the mountain Nestorians. He 
had undertaken the mission in the hope of persuading the 
East-Syrian patriarch. Mar Shamun, to submit to the in- 
evitable, and acknowledge the Papal supremacy. He had 
sent messengers to announce his visit, and had started some 
days on his journey to the patriarchal headquarters at Kud- 
chanes, when he received an answer, saying that the Patriarch 
had no time, and could not manage to receive his brother of 
the Roman Communion. So the Chaldaean returned in high 
dudgeon to Mosul, being baulked of his purpose; and in 
consequence of his journey and the rebuff which he had 
received was indisposed for several days. We called upon 
him in the splendid new house which his Italian superiors 
have built for him, and found him not at all inclined to be 
gracious to a member of the same Church, to which the men 
belonged, to whose efforts on behalf of the native Church he 
may have attributed his failure. On this account, and because 
the diwan was crowded, conversation was general. 

272 Mosul 

It has been already explained that the Roman policy is to 
gain adherents among the important houses, and put its 
members in positions of trust. It is thus that the bishops of 
the Uniat faith are influential men ; while at the same time 
they are almost entirely nnder the direct control of Rome. 
Nevertheless, there remains among the Papal Uniats in 
Mosul a considerable party of those who would gladly ex- 
change their present yoke for their ancient freedom. It was 
my business to avoid interference in matters of thiskiud ; but 
a good many facts forced themselves on my notice in the 
ordinary course of conversation. This party had been headed 
for many years by Mutrah Elias, with whom I had formed a 
very intimate friendship in Mardin. He was, too, a great 
friend of the Syrian Patriarch, and, having grown old in the 
contest against unequal odds, had accepted the fjitc which 
he deemed inevitable, and, joining the Papal Party, found a 
resting place as Bishop of the small Chaldioan diocese of 
Mardin. His supporters followed his example, but are 
by no means contented, and look to some opportunity in 
the future for recovering the heritage which they have 

The Bishop of the Papal Syrians in Mosul, Mutran Behnam 
Benni, held an important position in Mosul during the in- 
terregnum caused by the death of the late Patriarch, until the 
Pope should be pleased to appoint a " Patriarch of Antioch.^' 
What a position for the Church of Antioch, to accept a 
Patriarch onlv at the hands of the Patriarch of Rome ! This 
Bishop I found to bo a man of most courteous European 
manners and of genuine cordiality. He was also the most 
learned and capable prelate whom I had the fortune to meet 
in Turkey, contrasting in many ways pleasantly with some of 
his brethren. He had built in Mosul, in addition to the 
churches taken from the old Syrian community, a fine new 
church in the Italian style, well stocked with blue and tinsefl 
Miidonnas and tortured saints, that harmonise ill with the 
calmer, severer air of Assyria. 

One morning I donned my blue spectacles and hoisted my 
white umbrella, and sallied forth to visit the Bishop in the 

MosuL 273 

beautiful garden where he has built for himself a fine house. 
Past a picturesque five-domed mosque, through broad fields 
of beans and other vegetables, we came to one of those 
clumsy machines with which the water is drawn from the 
river level to the fields. Two aged mules went solemnly up 
and down the shoot, delivering pail after pail into the irriga- 
ting canal. The creaking wheels were heard a long way off, 
and much disconcerted our horses. But some coaxing 
persuaded them to pass the wheels and enter the farmyard 
of the Bishop. It was crowded with screaming geese and 
chickens, sheep and white turkeys, not to mention small 
boys and the Bishop's two qawwases, only lately stripped of 
the swords which they had previously worn. This was done 
by order of the Fariq, who failed to see why bishops should 
assume civil or military prerogatives, and made no secret of 
his dislike for this one, whose garden he much wanted for a 
new cavalry exercising ground. 

In the middle stood the Bishop himself superintending the 
breakfast of some favourite pigeons. He led the way through 
a second court, where grew orange, palm, and many another 
ornamental tree and flower, to a row of buildings containing 
his library, chapel, and bedroom. The library was such a 
room as scarcely exists elsewhere in Mesopotamia, handsomely 
furnished in the English style, and stocked with some two 
thousand volumes. There were a few pictures and pieces of 
choice china, and a marble head of Roman workmanship 
brought from Antioch. He was immensely proud of the 
room, and told me in good English how he had adopted 
various plans from libraries which he had seen when he 
visited London to study the Syriac manuscripts of the British 
Museum. He would not have been a Syrian had he not told 
the price of everything, and that was a good sum ; but he 
comes from a fairly rich family, and Papal Bishops in the 
East have not left their old churches for nothing. The chapel 
was plain, exceptiog the altar, which was tawdry ; the bath 
was all that could be desired. My visit was a long one, and 
the conversation of this cultivated man most interesting ; but 
somehow, perhaps because we both felt that our real sym- 


274 The Old Syinans of Mosul 

pathies scarcely coincided^ free discussion of the most 
important questions seemed impossible. 

Of the real rulers of both these sects^ the Chaldaeans and 
the Papal Syrians^ the Dominican monks of Mosul^ and the 
Papal Legate^ something will be said later. The Dominicans 
have a large establishment^ with an oratory^ and an admirable 
printing-press, managed by the Padres for purposes of educa- 
tion and conversion. Writing fifty years ago of Mosul, Mr. 
Fletcher says : " Perhaps the next fifty years may render the 
names even of the Jacobites and Nestorians a matter of 
history.'* His words have not been justified, in spite of the 
magnificent array with which the Church of Rome has 
garrisoned this outpost in the East. Moreover, in Mosul 
there remain some thousand houses of Jacobites, far out 
numbering their Papal rivals. To this body let us therefore 

In Mosul, as in many other towns, the Syrian house was 
divided against itself. The two chief men, it is true, came to call 
upon me on the same day ; but I suspect the meeting was 
accidental, for there was clearly a mine always ready to burst. 
The Patriarch's visit during the previous year had not been 
conducive to peace. People who desired the welfare of their 
nation were discouraged, while the professional mischief- 
makers had a busy time fomenting ill-feeling between the 
Patriarch and their own chief men. 

Thus the people were distrustful of each other, not liking 
to lay the blame for the turn events had taken on any 
individual, but secretly hinting that matters had been mis- 
managed at headquarters as elsewhere. They had in Mosul 
a Bishop, who enjoyed the soubriquet of "The Bishop of 
Sheep," and that in no Biblical sense ; for he was a stupid, 
ill-educated old man, fit rather to control the lower depart- 
ments of a monastery than sit in the seat of the late Bishop, 
an able man, it seemed, under whom schools had grown, and 
a strong stand been made against Papal encroachment. 

Several times I went to the Bishop's diwan on weekdays, 
or on Sunday mornings after the celebration of the Eucharist. 
But instead of the crowd that is wont on Sunday mornings to 


iMst Thoughts. 275 

flock to the diwan and receive a blessing on their week^ there 
were just one or two who came to drink co£Eee, and a priest, 
who did forbear to order the old man about in my presence, 
but scarcely concealed the contempt which he felt, and at 
another time freely confessed. Poor man ! he was a piteous 
sight as he sat there smoking his sbibuk, and lodging to 
return to the convent, whence he had been summoned to 
guide the sinuous courses of the Mosul flock. He was daily 
troubled by calls for the taxes of the community, and the dues 
demanded by the new Pasha on the sheep of the monastery. 
Twice one Sunday morning the tax-collector came in, and wa« 
told to come later; this he did, but only to receive the same 
answer. In truth, the Bishop had no taxes to pay, the 
Patriarch having clearly and with perfect right rfef used to 
pay for monastic property, appealing to an ancient charter 
granting exemption for all such from taxation. 

I had been some time in Mosul before I could speak in 
confidence with any trustworthy Syrian. Such an one was 
Melki Abdullah, to whom I had letters of introduction, and 
with him I had long and earnest conversation. He was the 
head of one of the oldest houses in Mosul, which in his father^s 
and nucleus time had been wealthy, and renowned for learning. 
He, too, had a good library of Syrian theology. But the 
death of the fathers brought ill-feeling between the sons, and 
things did not go smoothly between Melki and his cousin. 
Melki blamed him for neglecting business, and squandering 
on pleasure the money that should have helped his people. He 
himself had offered large sums of money to build a new church, 
and maintain a school in the house, which his father had built for 
the purpose. He was enthusiastic over the notion of a school, 
such as was contemplated at Deir-el-Za'aferan ; but raise 
hopes of a restored church as he would, he met everywhere 
the dull indifference that the quarrel seemed to have bred. 
Then there was the continual cry for material aid. It is a 
legacy of the oppression of a thousand years, and perhaps too 
a taint in the Syrian character, that this cry ever comes 
before the desire for a purer faith, and less contentious way 
of life. 

T 2 

276 Last Thoughts, 

So it has been for years ; and things have been made far 
worse by the presence of proselytizing bodies in the Church's 
midst. The earlier American missionaries, to whose honour 
be it said^ that they have ever determined to stand firm 
against anything that might obscure the purely spiritual aim 
of their work, turned with tears in their eyes from the town 
in which seven of their number had lost their lives. It is 
perfectly certain that were this not so, and substantial help 
and protection were given to their native brethren, the 
position of the American missionaries would be stronger, and 
their adherents far more numerous. Those that know the 
East, know the temptation there is to use these means, and 
will admire, without stint, the spirit which foregoes every 
advantage, rather than weaken a right principle. This 
temper in the American I have frequently seen, and am glad 
to bear witness to it. It is the same as ever it was, this love 
of temporalities ; and it will be a hard task to remove the 
canker, before the wound can be truly healed. God forbid 
that they will not one day see clearly through the mist, and 
find the truth enshrined in the system and ritual of their own 
church, for it is written, " In the morning sow thy seed, and 
in the evening stay not thy hand; for thou knowest not 
which shall prosper, either this or that.'' 

Such thoughts were forced upon one by all that one heard 
said, and those who have followed the course of events in 
recent Bast or West Syrian history will forgive the despondent 
tone. Yet for all this I found many both among priests and 
people yearning for a more lively faith and zealous hierarchy. 
I no longer wondered at the tone of sadness in which Mutran 
Abdullah and Mutran Yunas always spoke of their people; 
but I found comfort in the thought that if there was not 
much here to encourage, yet in every other town or village of 
Syrians there was so much to counterbalance the state of 
things in Mosul. 

It was our last Sunday at Mosul, and I went as usual to 
the early celebration at the Syrian church of Mar Thoma 
close by. It was the most orderly service, and the most 
hearty, that I had seen in Turkey. There was an 

Mosul. 277 

evidence of training in the choir, and reverence both in 
celebrant and congregation that was not common. I heard 
the time-honoured sermon of the poor man entering the 
room, and the rich man with a ring upon his finger, so full of 
application to this people, but with all the power dried out of 
it by constant repetition. The blest bread was distributed, to 
myself a double portion, and a few remained behind to receive 
the full sacrament, while the rest disbanded, and I went out 
to the diwan to say farewell to his lordship, the " Bishop of 

Again it was evening, and I stood once more upon the 
roof of my kind host's house, watching the sun go down. 
Over the parapet I saw the horses munching their evening 
meal, and the white donkey by their side. Suddenly the bell 
of the Dominican church rang out. It was twelve o'clock, 
and strange it sounded over the sleepy town. It seemed 
like some old Italian city, until I looked eastward, and there I 
seemed to see great palaces rise upon the mounds, with the 
river flowing beneath them, and the quiet hum of the streets 
sounded quite as far oif as they. And as this faded, I lifted 
my eyes and caught sight on Jebel Maqlub of the old Syrian 
monastery, carrying my thoughts on to Christian times, and 
the day when the great Jew's son, Bar-Hebr89U8, fore- 
shadowed in his funeral the time when these bitter dissensions 
shall be done. And then my thoughts went further out to 
the scene of the horrible deeds so lately done out beyond the 
mountains, reminding me of the rulers that be, and the 
present fear of Islam. And at last I awoke from the strange 
magic of the scene, as the old man walked out of his door on 
to the gallery of the nearest mosque, followed by his cat with 
tail erect ; and echoing from dome to dome and minaret to 
minaret, fell on my ear for the last time in Mosul the daily 
cry that ^' Allah is great, and Mohammed the Prophet of 
God; come, come to prayer." Truly may Islam pray, if 
such a hard fate can pray. 1'he cannon boomed from the 
Serai, and darkness stole rapidly on, until one long streaky 
glow was all that remained to tell where the sun went 


278 Mosul. 

The next day we started on our return journey to Mardin. 
There I said farewell to our kind Doctor and his friends. I 
lingered some time about the church of the Arbain before 
the Patriarch would let me go, so overjoyed was he at my 
safe return from that " City of Abominations/* and feared 
that if I went no one would come to take my place. Abu 
Selim grew very despondent, and on the day of my departure, 
after I had once more received the Patriarch's blessing and 
kissed his hand, rode out to say farewell on the road to 
Diarbekr. It was the last I saw of Mardin, Abu Selim 
riding slowly back up the winding road ; he was too sad to 
sing that day, and so was I. 



The Church of Antioch. 

''Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus^ for to seek Paul; and 
when he had fonnd him he brought him unto Antioch. And 
it came to pass that a whole year they assembled themselves 
together with the Church and taught much people. And 
the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.'* 
Thus was formed the earliest Gentile Church, which was 
through its sons to extend its influence over the whole East, 
and suffer more from persecutions and contentions than any 
other in the world. 

The Apostle St. Peter was universally recognised by the 
early Church as the first Bishop of the see, or as the Eusebian 
chronicle more accurately says 6 icopv^aios rrp^ iv 'AKrioxcti^i 
trpiOToy Otfitknaaa^ iKkKrifTiov, and it is to him that the Patriarchs 
of Antioch have always looked back as the first of the line 
which they claim to represent.* 

Of the wonderful spread of the Gospel towards the East, 
of the work of Thaddadus at Edessa, of Maris his successor 
— called the Second ''Catholicos of the East," of Ignatius 

• Cp. Neale, "Patriarchate of Antiooh;" Etheridge, '* The Syrian Churohee;" 
for aooonnts of the early years of tiie Choroh. 

280 The Primitire Church. 

" Theophorus the borne of God/' — every history gives ample 
accounts. ^' I am the com of God ; I must be ground by the 
teeth of beasts, that I may be found the pure bread of God^" 
So said Ignatius, the first in this Church of that great army 
of martyrs, whose zeal sowed the " seed of the Church '* so 
richly through the East. Ignatius died 116 a.d., and nine- 
teen yeai'S later Judas, the last of the Circumcision, followed 
him. There were many churches now organized : Ceesarea, 
to which Jerusalem still owed allegiance; Seleucia, whose 
Catholicos came for consecration to Antioch ; Edessa, Damas- 
cus, Tyre, and Apamaaa. All these acknowledged the primacy 
of Antioch ; but it was not until the Council of Nicaea that 
her exarchal authority was confirmed throughout the East. 

The Church of Antioch boasts a long roll of martyrs 
saints and doctors. Theophilos, the opponent of Marcion, 
published a famous defence of Christianity in 181 a.d. 
Serapion defended the faith against Montanus, and was 
succeeded by Alexander, by whom Origen was ordained, and 
who, having died in prison, is counted a martyr. Babylas, 
his successor, sufiered a martyrdom (251 a.d.), which aroused 
the enthusiasm of Chrysostom, himself a Syrian. Under 
Demetrian (252 a.d.),* the next bishop but one, was held the 
first Council of Antioch to condemn the heresy of Novatian 
of Kome. But on his death Antioch herself fell into heresy, 
first of all the Churches, and for many years suffered the 
immoral rule of Paul of Samosata, the instructor of Zenobia. 
After two councils he was deposed, and succeeded by 
Domnus (270 A.D.).t 

During the episcopate of Cyril the great tenth persecution 
was commenced by the edict of Diocletian and Valerius 
(303 A.D.). Among others Pamphilus, the learned doctor of 
Caesarea and friend of Eusebius, suffered; while the pages 
of the historians are full of the glorious sufferings of the 
martyrs of the Church, which had peace only when the 
Edict of Milan was proclaimed (313 a.d.), giving freedom of 
worship to the Christians. 

• Eu8. vi. 46. t Ens. vii. 30. 

Ths Arian Era. 281 

The Edict of Milan marks the beginning of a better-known 
period of the Church's history, the era of Constantine and 
the Council of Niceea, during which the See of Antioch was 
filled by a succession of bishops illustrious throughout the 
Church. Some years previously Gregory (297 a.d.), a prince 
of the royal house of Tiridates, who was restored to his 
Armenian kingdom by the Roman arms, was converted. He 
suffered persecution in his own land, then received consecra- 
tion as Bishop from Leontius of Ccesarea in Cappadocia, and 
finally became known as the " Illuminator of Armenia.'^ 

The episcopate of Eustathius is marked by the great 
struggle with Arianism (325 a.d.). S. Jerome speaks of him 
as the '' resounding trumpet that first gave the alarm against 
Arius.^' He was deposed by Constantine through the 
intrigues of the Arians (331 a.d.), and died in exile at 
Philippi (380 a.d.). Many troubles followed his deposition. 
For sixty years Arian bishops filled the see ; and under the 
auspices of the Arian Emperor Anastasius a remarkable 
council was held at Antioch (341 a.d.), at which a basis of 
communion was established * between the Catholics, Semi- 
Arians, and Arians. The quarrels rife at this time in the 
Patriarchate of Antioch are a saddening spectacle ; but it is 
to .be remembered that while the quarrels between sects 
obtain necessarily a foremost place in history, yet the quiet 
growth of the Church goes on unrecorded, because it is 
peaceful ; while the men who do this peaceful work are those 
who, after the great champions of the Faith, a Chrysostom or 
an Augustine, earn the truest glory by their lives. Hilarion 
(b. 292 a.d.) — the founder of monasticism in Palestine — 
Efraim of Nisibis (d. 378 a.d.) — ^the " sweet singer " of th^ 
Syrians — with a countless throng of martyrs, bear living 
witness to the reality of the Church's growth; while the name 
of the great Athanasius stands out as of a man who to all 
succeeding ages has shown in the highest light the heroism 
and the profundity of the Christian ideal. 

* Some Talnable canons were the resnlt of this Coanoil. Bat it is tainted 
bj the sentence of deposition paased upon Athanasins. 

282 The Schism at Antioch, 331—339 a.d. 

For a time it seemed as if Arianism was to triumph 
over the Catholic faith, spreading under imperial favour 
throughout the whole Church. In Antioch, the Catholic 
supporters of the deposed Eustathius held together under 
the leadership of two laymen, Flavian and Diodorus.* 
Athanasius visited and encouraged them, and when asked 
by the Emperor Constantius to grant to the Arians a 
church in Alexandria, " willingly,^' he replied, " if Leontiusf 
will give one in Antioch to be the property of the 

The Arians and semi-Arians were still struggling for 
supremacy at Antioch (354 a.d.), when the orthodox Meletius, 
one of the noblest of her bishops, was appointed to the See. 
It was an epoch of great Bishops, Cyril at Jerusalem, Basil 
and Gregory of Nanzianzen in Asia Minor ; but in Antioch 
Meletius, in spite of his universally recognised holiness, was 
unable to make peace between the combatants. He was three 
times banished through the intrigues of the Arians, and at 
last died (381 a.d.), while the Second General Council, of 
which he was President, was sitting at Constantinople. 
Athanasius in vain attempted from Alexandria to heal the 
divisions at Antioch. John of Constantinople, ever claimed 
as one of themselves by the Syrians, and called by the Syriac 
equivalent for his Greek name Chrysostom, was more 
successful, and reconciled Rome and Alexandria to Flavian,]; 
the Catholic Bishop of Antioch. He saw, too, the final 
triumph of Christianity, which may be dated from the death 
of Julian and the succession of Theodosius to the rule of 
the entire Empire. He also saw complete peace restored 
at Antioch by the Patriarch Alexander § before he died ii;! 
exile (407 a.d.). 

In the middle of the fifth century, the names of three 
great men come into prominence, Cyril Patriarch of Alex- 

• Thfiodoret H. E. ii. 24. 
t Arian Patriarch of Antiooh, 346 — 350 a.d. 
I Patriarch, 381—404 a.d. 

$ Theodoret, v. 35. Patriarch either 408 — il8 a.d. (according to Eastern 
tradition), or 413 — 123 a.d. according to Le Qaien, Or. Chr. iL 718. 


The Council of EpheifUM, 431 a.d. 283 

andria,* John of Antioch,t and Nestorias of Constantinople,} 
with whom is connected the history of the struggles, which 
resulted in the condemnation, first, of Nestorias, at the Council 
of Ephesus ; secondly, of Butyches, at that of Chalcedon, and 
thirdly, in the secession of the two churches of Syria and 
Persia, which followed the teaching of the two great 
heresiarchs. The See of Seleucia, no longer dependent on 
Antioch for the consecration of its Catholicos, adopted the 
heresy of Nestorius, which taught substantially the existence 
of two personalities in our Lord, and consequently refused to 
the Virgin Mary the title of Theotokos. Nestorianism became 
the recognised form of Christianity in Persia ; and the 
Catholicos, encouraged by the Persian Emperor to adopt a 
doctrine that would estrange his Church from that of his rivals 
in the West, assumed the title of Patriarch; while Persia 
became the refuge of many who held the same opinions from 
the rigour of Justinian. § 

John of Antioch had been delayed on his way to Ephesus, 
and the Council, which condemned Nestorius, was held with- 
out him under the presidency of Cyril. As soon as he 
arrived, John, vexed that the Bishops had not waited five 
days longer for him, held a second Council, and condemned 
Cyril for the use of phrases that savoured of heresy in the 
direction opposite to that in which Nestorius had erred. But 
after the first heat of controversy mutual explanations and a 
more careful adjustment of phrases on the part of Cyril 

♦ 412—444 A.D. 

t 428—440 A.D. 

t 428—431 A.D. 

The Patriarch of Antiooh was now the recognised Metropolitan of the fifteen 
prorinoee of the Eastern Chnrch. At the Council of Ephesns, howerer, John 
reoeired a check to his claim to jnrisdiction o? er Oypms. It was an age when 
Patriarchs were inclined to extend their power, and it would haye been well had 
others besides John borne this check in mind. 

§ Circa 498 a.d. 

In 489, the famous school of Edessa, founded by Efraim of Nisibis, was 
closed bj the Emperor Zeno, beMuse it had become a stronghold of Nestorianism. 
In connection with the favour shown to Nestorianism in Persia, it must always 
be remembered, how large a share politics have had in the ecclesiastical affairs 
of the East. 

284 The Council of Chalcedon, 451 a.d. 

effected the reunion, which both seem really to have desired. 
Nevertheless, Cyril had used expressions which, if they did 
not justify, at least gave colour to the doctrine, which Buty- 
ches, an Archimandrite of Constantinople, promulgated in 
alarm at the spread of Nestorianism in the East. John of 
Antioch had been a man of peace, and had used all his 
influence to urge Nestorius to modify his dangerous language. 
But Eutyches had no such adviser. It seemed that with the 
death of John of Antioch and Sixtus of Rome in 440 a.d., and of 
Cyril four years later, that the Church was losing her great 
champions ; but the same Providence that raised up Athana- 
sius against Arianism and Cyril against Nestorianism, called 
to the seat of Some one of the greatest Bishops of that 
greatest of sees, Leo the Great, to combat the error of 

Eusebius of Doryleeum, a man, it seems, with a keen 
scent for heresy, having been the first to attack Nestorius 
nine years before, suddenly denounced Eutyches, an ignorant 
but worthy monk, more zealous to defend the unity of our 
Lord's person than mentally capable of defining it. Flavian, 
the gentle Patriarch of Constantinople, counselled peaceful 
remonstrance ; but Eusebius was resolute, and a Council was 
summoned. It is not surprising that Eutyches resented this 
treatment, and doubtless he was confirmed thereby in his 
opinion, refusing to answer the charge before a personal 
enemy, such as he knew Eusebius to be. On the other hand 
his stupidity lessens our sympathy, especially when we con- 
sider the gentleness with which he was treated by the Bishops 
assembled by Flavian at Constantinople. Matters might 
have ended with the explanations there given, had not 
Dioscorus, the successor of Cyril at Alexandria, violently 
espoused the cause of Eutyches, and held the Council known 
ever since as the Robber Council of Ephesus (a.d. 449), over 
the scene of which it is best to draw a veil. The injuries 
received there caused the death of Flavian. A general 
Council iwras now a necessity, and it was convened at Chalce- 
don by the Emperor Marcian on October 8, 451. After seven 
sessions Dioscorus and Eutyches were condemned, and exiled 

The Council of Ohalcedon, 461 a.d. 285 

to Paphlagonia. The answer of Dioscorus was a denunciation 
of the Council^ and a protest that it disannulled the faith of 
Nicaea, as upheld by Cyril. 

However much we may regret many of the circumstances 
connected with this Council of Chalcedon, the tyrannical 
behaviour of Eusebius that preceded it, and the lamentable 
schisms that followed it, it must remain a matter of thankful- 
ness that it called forth the great '' Tome '' of Leo, which 
determined for ever the language in which may be expressed 
all that we can know of our Lord's nature, and added the 
coping stone to the dogmatic structure of our creeds. But 
the native Churches of Syria, Armenia, and Egypt, have 
never accepted the Council, and for these reasons, that it 
seemed to throw doubt and dishonour upon the sainted 
Cyril, and was the result of a desire to enforce the authority 
of Constantinople and Rome upon the patriarchates of Alex- 
andria and Antioch. With the doctrines of the Council no 
fault is found, in so far as they agree with the Nicaeans and 
Cyril, by the Egyptians, Syrians, or Armenians. But it is 
impossible that they can stand in a completely satisfactory 
relation to the Catholic Church, until the Council be ac- 
cepted as setting forth by the mouth of the great Leo the 
one formula that can express the nature of our Lord Jesus 

That they do not hold, nor ever have held, as a body, pure 
Eutychianism, will appear later. But we must leave this 
subject to describe the steps by which the final separation 
between the Greeks and the Syrians was brought about. It 

* The Coanoil condemned Eutychianism as " ff{rfxv^^^ *^^ Kpacty^'* the 
monatroas doctrine that the Divine nature of the only begotten Son was a 
commixture capable of suifering. It confessed one Christ '" 4v 9io <p6ff9<riy (not 
only ix 96vy (p^fftcay) iurvyx^ots krptjrrvs hJHioxpirut kxupi<f^ui yvtapi^6fifyoy." 
The phrase of Cyril, recalling that of Apollinaris, ('* The one incarnate nature 
of Christ ") was much fought over. It was " The one Divine Nature of God 
Incarnate." This was the watchword of the Entychians who " used some of 
the words of Cyril, and those in a sense not intended by him. From real, 
though erring reverence, they wished to honour Christ and to bar out a profane 
heresy by regarding His manhood as absorbed in His Godhead." Bright'H 
" Hist, of Church," p. 378. 

286 The '' Henoticon," 482 a.d. 

is not an edifying spectacle, the Church at war daring 
these hundred years, but it is necessary to consider it in 
order to rightly understand the present position of the two 

The chief scene of the struggle, heralded by the Council 
of Chalcedon and the deposition of Dioscorus, was Alexandria. 
A Catholic Patriarch was appointed, to fall a victim almost 
immediately to the friends of Dioscorus, who raised Timothy 
'' the Cat '' to the throne. That city is described as full of a 
diabolical frenzy, upon which it is needless to dwell. At 
Antioch, Peter the Puller, an ardent anti-Chalcedonian, was 
raised to the Patriarchate, twice deposed and as many times 
restored. He was the first to introduce into the ancient 
hymn to the Trinity known as the '' Trisagion " the expression 
" Who wast crucified for us,'' in order to emphasise his belief 
in the unity of our Lord's natures and his opposition to the 
decrees of Chalcedon.* The expression became the badge of 
party in the Capital ; and the weak Emperor Anastasius was 
powerless to check the violence of the green and blue factions, 
who displayed their theological and political sympathies by 
chanting in the churches the hymn with or without the addition 
so hateful to the Catholics. Actual war broke out in 514 ad., 
when the Count Vitalian espoused the cause of those who 
supported the Synod against the blasphemy of its opponents, 
and won the day. 

In the reign of Zeno, an attempt was made to assuage the 
violence of the storm by the publication of an edict called the 
^* Henoticon " or Concordat.f All mention of Chalcedon was 
carefully omitted, although all doctrines contrary to the Synod 
were condemned. But the extreme Monophy sites, no less 

* The phrase did not refer to the whole Trinity, bnt was intended to empha- 
sise the fact that He who was omeified for us was Terilj one of the divine 
Trinity. Bat tiie plain outcome of the position was one whioh, nerertheless, no 
coanti-Synodite " would recognise, namely that God died. 

t The " Henoticon " is g^enerally admitted to be free from heresy (Asseman, 
B. O. i. 343 ; Pagi. iii. 411). But it was a political move to gain peace, rather 
than a real attempt to adjust differences with a view to final nnity ; and this was 
no reason for mere compromise. Cp Evagrius, H. £). iii. ^3. 

The "Three Chapters.'' 287 

than the orthodox Romans, refused to accept it, the first 
because it did not condemn, the last because it did not enforce 
the decrees of the Chalcedon while both parties anathematized 
Peter Mongus, the Monophysite Patriarch of Alexandria, and 
Acacius of Constantinople, for accepting a well-meant, but 
ill-advised compromise. The extreme Monophj sites separated 
from their brethren (484 a.d.), and being without Bishop or 
Emperor, were known for many years as the '' Acephali " or 
headless party. "^ 

The divisions, which Zeno and Anastasius had vainly tried 
to heal, were only widened by the religious differences between 
the orthodox Justiuian and his heterodox queen Theodora. 
The Council of Constantinople succeeded at last in introdu- 
cing peace, by ruling that the obnoxious addition to the 
" Trisagion " expressed only the truth, " that one member of 
the holy and consubstantial Trinity was crucified ; " an 
explanation which, it may be thought, might with advantage 
have been made at an early stage of the quarrel. But the 
addition, even so explained, was never adopted by the 
orthodox, who continued to look upon it as a badge of 
Monophysite sympathies. 

The Council had been made necessary by the attempt of 
Justinian to make peace between the contending parties, by 
enforcing the condemnation of the &mous " Three Chapters/' 
These chapters were the writings of three men formerly 
accused of Nestorianism ; (1), Theodore of Mopsuesta; 
(2), Theodoret of Cyrus ; (8), Ibas of Edessa ; but as the two 
latter had been acquitted of heresy at Chalcedon, the edict 
was only the signal for another outburst of religious zeal. It 
was essentially a disingenious attempt to discredit Chalcedon. 
The Western Churches fought for the honour of Leo and 
Chalcedon, vigorously denouncing the Emperor ; but their 
cause was weakened by the simoniacal and cowardly Pope 

* Cp. John Eph., v. 6, for their sabBeqaent history, as for an aooonnt of the 
nomeroos sects which grew from them. *' Some are altogether imaginary ; some 
different, not in reality, but only in terms ; some were distingnished, not by their 
doctrine, bat by some external rites, and other outward ceremonies.*' Moaheim, 
ii. V. Thirty-six sects of Monophysites are enumerated. 

288 Severus, Patriarch of Aniioch, 

Vigilius, then in Constantinople. Africa, too, condemned the 
Emperorj and a Council was sumnioned at Constantinople 
(a.d. 553). Little was gained by the Council's confirmation 
of the edict condemning the Chapters, and the quarrel was 
left to linger for a hundred years and die a natural death. 

At Antioch meanwhile there had been no peace since the 
Synod. Peter the Fuller was a man of war and eagerly 
opposed the " Synodites,'* as his party called the Greeks. 
But he, no less than Severn s, his successor, anathematized 
Eutyches and Dioscorus as heretics. Severus now headed 
the Moderate Monophysites, aided by the learned and power- 
ful Philoxenus, whom Peter had consecrated Bishop of 
Hierapolis. Their efforts succeeded in the expulsion of the 
vacillating Flavian (612 a.d.). and the appointment of 
Severus to the See of Antioch by the influence of the Mono- 
physite Emperor Anastasius. Severus was a native of 
Sozopolis in Pisidia. He studied law and was baptized by 
one of the Orthodox in Beirut ; but soon after he joined the 
'' Acephali,'' denounced the Catholics as Nestorians, and 
entered a Monophysite monastery at Gaza, where he was 
consecrated Bishop.* Passing from one place to another he 
became first an extreme Eutychian, and denounced Peter 
Mongus of Alexandria and all who accepted the " Henoticon " 
of Zeno; then, charged with stirring up tumult at Alexandria, 
he fled to Constantinople, where he was received with honour 
by Anastasius (491 a.d.). On being raised to the See of 
Antioch he recanted his extreme Monophysite views ; but 
being charged with cruel persecution of the orthodox in his 
diocese, a sentence of deposition was drawn up against him 
(518 A.D.), and ratified through the influence of the orthodox 
Scythian Count Vitalian. Irenaeus, Count of the East, was 
commissioned to cut out the tongue of the heretic; but he 
escaped to Alexandria, where he received protection from the 
Monophysite Patriarch Timothy. Not long afterwards 
Philoxenus was murdered by the "Synodites'' in Paphlagonia, 
and Antioch ceased to be in the hands of the Monophysites 

* £? agrius, iii. 33. 

John Scholasticus and the Imprisoned Bishops. 289 

until, on the death of Severus in Egypt,* Paul the Black, 
the gentle and much persecuted Monophysite Patriarch, 
was appointed to the See. 

The death of Severus (542 a.d.), the deposed Patriarch of 
Antioch, maybe taken to mark the beginning of a new period 
in the history of the Syrian Church ; for from this date the 
double succession to the See has been maintained to the 
present day. 

Theodosius, the Monophysite Patriarch of Alexandria, had 
found an honourable refuge in Constantinople under the 
favour of the Empress Theodora until his death (567 a.d.). 
Justinian, influenced perhaps by his wife, had gradually 
towards the end of his reign came to look with favour on the 
Monophy sites, who for a time were free from persecution. 
But with the death of Justinian (565 a.d.), and the succession 
of Justin, the violent supporter of the orthodox believers, 
more troubles were in store for them, chiefly at the hands of 
the implacable John Scholasticus, of Sirmin, who in the same 
year succeeded the mild Eutychius in the Patriarchate of 
Constantinople. John began by an attack on the convents in 
the Capital, where Theodora has given a refuge to the 
persecuted nuns of Antioch and Asia Minor. This he 
followed up by obtaining the imprisonment of four leading 
Bishops of Asia, who stood out against Chalcedon : John of 
Ephesus, the historian, Stephen, Metropolitan of Cyprus, Paul 
" the Black,*' Patriarch of Antioch, and Elisha, another 
Bishop in Asia Minor. A fifth Bishop,t Paul of Aphrodisias, 
Metropolitan of Caria, he had already arrested, and deprived 
of his orders as an opponent of Chalcedon. He forced him to 
sign a recantation which he never read, and reconsecrated 
him Bishop of Antioch in Caria. " And this became a 
mockery and a derision to the actors themselves, and to his 
own people ; and his clergy called him the double-dyed.*' J 

The same course was pursued with regard to the imprisoned 
Bishops, whose ordination John wished to annul, and so 

* Evagrina, iv. 11. Cp. Gibbon, iv. 382. 
t John Eph. ii. 42. 
{ John Eph. ii. 41. 

290 The Imprinoned Bishops, 

extend his own jurisdiction. The persecution dragged on, 
the Patriarch insisting on the acceptance of Chalcedon, and 
re-ordination, and the Bishops urging the thirty-six com- 
munions in which he himself had previously joined with them. 
Finally, the mediation of Justin induced them to give way, 
and, on the understanding that Chalcedon should be rejected, 
consent to communicate twice. The Patriarch prevaricated 
when the time came to anathematize Chalcedon j the Bishops 
withdrew, and, an inquiry having been made by Justin's 
orders, they were banished each to a separate exile, ^'so that 
neither friend nor stranger should see them any more/' 

The Monophysite Bishops formally renounced all connection 
with the '* Synodites,'' and thus cut themselves off from the 
communion of the Church of Constantinople. But the exile 
of the Bishops did not content the " Synodites,*' or 
'^ Meikites," as their opponents contemptuously called the 
servants of the imperial power. Paul the Black, imprisoned 
in a monastery, was used with every brutality for daring to 
occupy his time in writing an account of the events he had 
witnessed. Stephen of Cyprus had been more discreet; an J, 
having been convinced of the soundness of Chalcedon, 
obtained at Constantinople considerable influence over the 
weak Emperor Justin, who supported him against the ambi- 
tion of the Patriarch John. This he utilised on behalf of 
Paul, who was summoned to Constantinople. But Paul had 
no desire to stay in the capital ; and before long, John 
Scholasticus, fearing that his influence with the Emperor 
might grow, connived at his escape to Mesopotamia, where 
he found refuge with Mondir, the son of Harith, the Christian 
King of the Tayan Arabs. Stephen had no greater success 
with John of Ephesus, and was the unwilling but helpless 
witness of the sufferings which the good Bishop so touchingly 
describes in his history. 

Orthodoxy was upheld and extended by the cruelties of 
Justin and John, who took decisive steps to undo the work 
which the influence of the Monophysite Empresses Theodora 
and Sophia had done. There is no reason to doubt the sub- 
stantial truth of John of Ephesus, although a partisan of the 

The Imprisoned Bishops. 291 

persecuted, ia his account of the outrages, for which he saw 
a judgment in the terrible disease which overtook both 
Emperor and Patriarch, and finally caused their death. 

The incapacity of Justin, that came of his disease, caused 
Tiberius Caesar* to be appointed Regent (574 a.d.), who 
proved himself later (578 a.d.) to be one of the noblest 
Emperors that occupied the throne. He immediately rebuked 
the Patriarch John, whose venom seemed only to be increased 
by his malady, and commanded peace to be kept towards the 
Eastern Bishops. Urged by Tiberius to tell what fault he 
found with the " Diacrinomeni"t John could bring no definite 
charge of heresy, but only repeated that they abhorred the 
Council of Chalcedon and the two natures, and would not 
communicate with the " Synodites.^' ^' Why then,^' said 
Tiberius, '^ do you urge me to be, like Diocletian, a persecutor 
of Christians ? " Tiberius was no less firm with Eutychius 
(577 A.D.), who on the death of John was restored to the 
patriarchate of Constantinople, and wished to involve the 
'^ orthodox " t ^^ the persecutions which the Emperor coun- 
tenanced against the Arians and other heretics; while the 
death of Eutychius, and the succession of the tolerant John 
the Faster, brought complete relief to the persecuted " Anti- 

It is necessary now to retrace our steps, in order to follow 
the course of events in the East which led to the consolidation 
of the Jacobite Church. About the year 540 the Bishops 
imprisoned at Constantinople were delighted, just at the time 
when their cause seemed hopeless, by the arrival of a monk 
of the monastery of Phasil, near Edessa, named James, 
known later as Bardaeus § or Zanzalus. He was the son of 

* The heirs to the Bysantine throne adopted the title of Csosar. 

t Distingnishers — i.e., between the doctrine of Cyril of Alexandria and Leo of 
Borne. Cp. John Eph. iii. 12. 

X So the adherents of John of Antioch and Theodosius of Alexandria always 
called themselves. 

§ Called by the Syrians " El Barda'ani/' from the rags in which he dressed. 
His history may be read in John of Ephesos, in Asseman B.C. i. 424, ii. 62 ; Le 
Qoien, ii. 1346 ; Laud Anecdota Syriaca. Tela Manzalat is in the Arabic called 

u 2 

292 Jacobus BardaBus. 

Theophilus-Bar-Menu^ a priest of Tela Manzalat (Constan- 
tina)^ in the same province^ and was sent to plead the cause 
of the Monophy sites at the capital. He was accompanied by 
another monk^ Sergius^ and remained some fifteen years at 
Constantinople^ devising means for restoring the '^ orthodox *' 
faith in Asia. James was consecrated Metropolitan Bishop 
by the imprisoned Bishops^ and returned to Syria to take the 
lead of the Monophysites. There he had strong supporters 
in Harith and his son Mondir^ kings of the Tayan Arabs. 
On the death of Severus he consecrated his friend Sergius to 
the See of Antioch ; and^ when Sergius died, appointed Paul 
the Black, one of the Bishops imprisoned at Constantinople, 
to fill his place * (545 a.d.). James thus continued the succes- 
sion of Patriarchs, which began with Severus, at Antioch, and 
has lasted unbroken down to the present day.t 

It has been mentioned that Paul the Black had gone to 
Constantinople in 571, and communicated with Stephen of 
Cyprus and John Scholastius, thinking thus to promote 
unity. Three years after his flight and repentance he was 
received into communion by James Bardsdus. But Peter of 

* Dionysios Chron. quoted by ABseman B.C. ii. 16. 

t Benaadot (Lit. Or. i. 365), relying on the statement of Maris and Amms, 
for which no proof is given, says that James was never more than a priest. 
Asseman (B.C. i. Introd.) affirms his belief in his valid consecration, because 
Bome recognises Syrian orders as well as Ghreek. He quotes a letter written by 
Andreas Masius to Moses Mardenus, a Jacobite who in 1552 visited Bome, 
telling him that he was mistaken in thinking that his orders were not recognised 
at Bome. Nor is it conceivable that at a time when exact and valid consecration 
was so much insisted on (as is clear from the pains which were taken to secure 
proper consecration for Theodore, Monophysite Patriarch of Alexandria, in 
568 A-D.), that James should have afterwards, without any appare&t remon- 
strance, consecrated two Patriarchs, eighty-nine Bishops, and ordained an immense 
number of priests, if he in reality was no more than a priest. Theodosius of 
Alexandria, Anthimus of Constantinople, both deposed patriarchs, John of 
Egypt, and Constantius of Laodicea, are named as his conseorators in 541 a.d. 
It was for want of duly consecrated Bishops that Tritheites died out. Bar 
Hebneus asserts (ap. Asseman B.C. ii. 327) that he was not Bishop of Edessa, 
las generaUy supposed, but " (Ecumenical Metropolitan," with no fixed See, but 
•with Metropolitan authority over aU his followers in every place. He mentions 
ftcwo Bishops of Edessa — Theodore 540 A.D., Thomas 542 a.d. — during the 
0|Vi8jX>j>at9 of James. Cp. Bar Salib in Asseman, ii. 424. 

Jacobus Bardseus, 293 

Alexandria accused Paul of having helped to consecrate 
Theodore, without the knowledge of the people, to the See of 
Alexandria, and pronounced his deposition from the See of 
Antioch. The result was a bitter schism between Alexandria 
and Antioch, which was not healed until after the death of 
James in 578. Since the deposition of the Patriarch Theodo- 
sius in 538 there had been no peace in Alexandria. Egypt 
was Monophysite almost to a man, and the Catholic Patriarchs, 
Paul of Tanis (538) and Apollinaris (551), like Proterius 
(451) the succ(iSsor of the heretic Dioscorus, were obliged to 
maintain their position by the aid of the Imperial guards. 
Gibbon draws a grim picture of the horrors of the times, and 
speaks with relief, if also with contempt, of the milder efforts 
of Eulogius and John the Almoner a few years later to main- 
tain the faith of Chalcedcm against overwhelming odds in 
Alexandria. '' A thousand years had now elapsed since Egypt 
ceased to be a kingdom. . . . The conflict of zeal and 
persecution rekindled some sparks of their national spirit. 
They abjured with a foreign heresy the manners and even 
language of the Greeks ; every Melkite, in their eyes, was a 
stranger, every Jacobite a citizen." 

In addition to their hatred of the Greeks, the Egyptians 
were divided among themselves, one party supporting Peter 
and the other Theodore, the two Monophysite Patriarchs. 
James had until 576 upheld Theodore, but in an evil moment 
he was persuaded to go to Alexandria, and not only com- 
municate with but draw up articles for union with that same 
Peter, whom he had but lately anathematised as an adulterous 
intruder* in the See of Alexandria. He was persuaded to 
agree moreover to the deposition of Paul of Antioch, but not 
to his excommunication. The immediate result was a violent 
schism in. Syria, which spread all through Asia and Armenia. 
" Even of heathens and Jews and heretics, no one, however 
fierce and savage, would venture to speak so reproachfully as 
the believers did of one another ; at the very time when in 

* So in the eoclesiastioal phraseology of the day was an intruded Bishop 
spoken of. 

294. The Death of James, 578 a.d. 

matters of faith there was no diflFerence or dispute between 
them." * In vain Paul desired to confer with James ; there 
were those whose interest it was to keep them apart. Mondir, 
the Arab, of his own accord, and urged by Paul and others, 
attempted in vain to mediate between his two friends, Paul 
and James. Longinus, Bishop and evangelizer of Nubia, 
added his entreaties to those of Mondir; but a kind of mad- 
ness was in the disputants, prompted, says John, by no one 
but Satan ; and the country presents a universal spectacle of 
intestine war. Suddenly all were overawed by the sudden 
end of James. Peter of Alexandria having died scarcely 
a year after his election, James, without making known his 
object, set out on a visit to his successor Damianus. But as 
he and his attendants arrived at the monastery of Cassianus, 
on the borders of Egypt, the whole number died one after 
another. ^'And astonishment seized all men because of 
these things, and wonder that the blessed James and his 
company should so suddenly be snatched away. And many 
concluded in themselves that possibly he was about to do 
something strange, and likely to increase the troubles of the 
Church ; or that he was even purposing to make a Patriarch 
(of Antioch) ; and so God took him to himself, that the soul 
of the pious old man might not suffer loss." t So died the 
consolidator of the Syrian Church, a man deserving pity 
rather for his weakness, and love for his gentle goodness, than 
censure for the unwise course into which he was driven. 

It may not be out of place here to add the just and kindly 
words with which John of Bphesus praises the virtue and 
mourns the weakness of his beloved James. It has been the 
fate of the Eastern Churches now out of communion with the 
Greeks, to have been led by ignorant or weak men ; for such 
were Nestorius Eutychesf and James. "Of the simplicity and 
innocence of the old man Jacob may be said that which is 

• John Eph. iv. 19. 

t John Eph. iv. 33. 

X It muflt on no account be ima^^ned that Copts or Syrians acknowledge 
Entyohes. Both sternly anathematize him, althoofi^h he was the original cause 
of the quarrel which led to their excommunication. 

The Death of James, 295 

written in the Scriptures, concerning the brethren in the days 
of the blessed Apostles, 'that in singleness of their heart they 
praised the Lord/ For he, like them, to simplicity and 
innocence joined great spiritual zeal, aod from his youth, 
even unto old age, was indefatigable in his exertions and 
labours for the Church. He was, however, too much under 
the influence of the crafty and designing men about him, who 
turned him every way they chose, and used him as a means 
of establishing their own power, swaying him now in this 
direction, and now in that, like a child /^ * 

It is clear from this and other passages that John considered 
most of the troubles that vexed his party in the Church to 
have been due to the weakness of the pious Bishop James. 
His influence was doubtless immense, and in spite of every 
sympathy which one may have with the cause of orthodoxy, 
one cannot but regret that there was not a stronger man to 
lead the Monophysites, and bring them, perhaps, to some 
nderstanding with the " Melkites,^' for which we may see 
that the reign of Tiberius aflForded ample opportunities. 

The quarrel dragged to its close. Where the Ambassadors 
of Tiberius to the Persians failed to reconcile the opponents, 
'' neither side being able to persuade the other, but parting 
with mutual annoyance," the haughty Eutychius was not likely 
to succeed by summoning them to Constantinople (a.d. 580). 
Mondir and John, our historian, were scarcely more successful, 
although the former came all the way to the capital to 
establish peace. Meanwhile fresh sedition had been caused 
at Antioch by the visit of Damianus of Alexandria, and his 
attempt to consecrate, as a parallel to himself, a new Patriarch 
of Antioch. A hollow peace was made with his opponents, 
which Damianus did not hesitate to violate on his return to 
Alexandria. At the same time Peter Callinicus was intruded 

* John Eph., iv. 15. John of Ephesus may, I think, be implicitly followed 
in his account of their quarrels, of which he, belonging to neither party, was the 
unwilling spectator, labouring to unite the disputants. 

Book iv. 12, is a very remarkable commentary on the history of the 
times, and fills the reader with admiration for the good and gentle old Bishop of 

296 The Corning of Mohammed. 

against his will by the opponents of Paul into the See of 
Antioch, and Paul, " the Patriarch of evil days/' retired to 
concealment and death in Constantinople. There he was 
secretly buried in a convent ; and Peter, feeling himself now 
lawful Patriarch, made further attempts at union with 
Alexandria. Two years later John the Faster succeeded to 
the See of Constantinople ; persecutions ceased, and with the 
death of Paul of Antioch, and Theodore of Alexandria, the 
dissensions between the two Sees began to heal. 

The second era in the history of the See of Antioch was 
closed, and the dawn of a third was breaking, heavy with 
the signs of an Empire's fall and the birth of a new religion. 
The seventh century closed alike on the wonderful missionary 
exploits of the Eastern Church in Persia, and the triumph of 
the Islam that came like a scourge upon a people drunk with 

The death of the Emperor Maurice (602 a.d.), and the suc- 
cession of his murderer J^hocas, gave the signal for the 
Persians to ravage the Roman dominions. Hitherto Mesopo- 
tamia had been the arena of war between the rival powers, 
and Dara Amida and Nisibis the keys of possession. But 
Heraclius came to the throne in 602 a.d. to find all Syria in 
the hands of Chosroes. First Damascus, then the Holy City 
itself fell before the Peraian general Shahrbarz (614 a.d.), and 
the Patriarch Zacharias of Jerusalem was carried off with the 
true Cross itself, to grace the infidel's triumph. Never since 
Constantinople was built has there been such a disaster; and 
at Chalcedon itself, almost opposite the very walls of the 
capital, the Persians were encamped, stretching out their 
hands to the Slavs and Avars, who threatened the city on the 
north side of the isthmus, and inviting them to join in its 

An insulting and blasphemous letter from the Persian king 
aroused the Emperor and all Christendom ; while from 
Constantinople to Arabia the Church poured forth her 
treasures of plate and money to help in the crusade. Con- 
stantinople was fortified, and with a gigantic efibrt, worthy of 
the great conquerors of the world's history, Heraclius drove 

The Coming of Mohammed. 297 

back the Persians, cutting them off in Cilicia, and forcing 
them finally to make an abject appeal for mercy in the very 
royal palace of Dastagerd itself. Chosroes had been already 
murdered by his son, who submitted to Heraclius (628 A.D.). 
The Emperor returned, leaving the East in peace, to restore 
the Cross in its place in Jerusalem. 

Meanwhile in an obscure corner of the empire a greater 
than Heraclius had been born, and in this very year sent a 
letter round demanding for a new creed the submission of 
the kings of the earth. " The year of flight '' (622 a.d.) had 
passed, and Mohammed was at the head of a devoted band of 
followers, ready to conquer Arabia and perhaps the world. 
It was an epoch of the world's history, and twice the 
Patriarchs of Jerusalem saw the abomination of desolation 
standing in the holy place, and thought the end of all things 
at hand. Ten years after Shahrbarz (637 a.d.), when the 
glories of Heraclius paled before the storm of Arab conquest, 
Sophronius the Patriarch, and Omar the Arab, stood side by 
side at the altar of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 

East of the Mediterranean the Roman Empire had given 
way for ever, and the Arab arms now ruled the Churches that 
the Councils of two centuries before had cut o£E from the 
orthodox communion. For the future it was not the Melkite 
or Imperialist to whom the Eastern Churches were to acknow- 
ledge an unwilling homage, but to the sword of Islam. 
Byzantine history now affected them little, for the successors 
of Heraclius had enough to do to keep the Saracen fleets 
away from the capital.* 

The famous *' Iconoclastic '' controversy, begun by LtH> 
the Isaurian, was continued for near a hundred years 
(720 — 802 A.D.) by his successors, desirous of checking the grow- 
ing tendency of which the Christians of the day seem to have 
been truly in danger, to magnify the importance of those 
rites, legends, and observances, which are apt to spring up 

* Leo the Isaurian did more than any of the Byzantine emperors to save 
Europe from the Saracens, by his bold opposition to the Ommiade Suleiman, 
717—718 A.D. 

298 Mohammed. 

round religion in a superstitious age. The quarrel is made 
famous by one great name, John of Damascus, the bold 
opponent of the Emperors ; but it is chiefly to be remembered 
as an ill-advised attempt to stem an evil when the time had 
gone by in which it might have been cured. The opposition 
to the Imperial policy was fostered by the feeling, natural to 
many a sincere Christian, that the Emperors were leagued 
with the Mohammedan to destroy all outward expression of 
their faith. 

How little the second great controversy of the times aflTected 
the Syrians may be judged by their own language in regard 
to the '* Procession of the Holy Ghost.'' The words inserted 
in the creed bv the Western Church were the occasion of the 
rupture, for which the rival claims of Gregory of Rome and 
John Scholasticus of Constantinople had paved the way ; and 
the ninth century witnessed the unseemly recriminations and 
the final break between the two great communions. 

Many of the Churches of the East still remain under the 
domination of the Mohammedans. It is a cheap criticism to 
speak of Mohammed as the " arch-impostor,'' the " self- 
deceived fanatic," for such are the terms in which he is too 
often spoken of. It is clear to anyone who glances even 
cursorily over the pages of Eastern Christian history at this 
time, that a time for judgment had come. Christians had 
forgotten, in their quarrels over the right expression of their 
faith, the spirit of charity which should have made them one; 
and a lesson was needed to tell them how they had abused 
their birthright. No man can doubt that in the mind of the 
Great Ruler the birth and life of Mohammed were conceived 
to call men back to contemplate His unity, and to purify 
seven times in the fire of sufPering the Churches which are 
one day to rise again to fulfil the mission of their Founder. 
Xor is it less probable that under the rule of an alien, and, as 
it oflBcially now most assuredly is, tolerant rule, the union of 
the various divided Churches may be consummated, than were 
the Mohammedan yoke removed, and, with the division of 
the empire among Christian races, the national distinctions 
and antipathies brought more into prominence and perhaps 

Later History of the Church, 299 

opposition. It cannot be too often repeated that the Churches 
of the East are essentially national Churches, kept separate 
to a large extent by their diflferences of language, and still 
less likely to unite, were the bond of a common submission 
removed. When the Churches begin to contemplate unity, 
then will the work of Mohammed perhaps be done. 

In the seventh century the Syrian Christians fade from the 
general history of the Church. The Arabs were inclined to 
favour them as rivals of the Greeks, and early in the eighth 
century Walid secured the entry of their Patriarch into 
Antioch, whence they had been driven by the Greeks since 
the death of Jacobus Bardaeus. But he remained there only 
a short time, nor were his people free from the persecutions 
which Abdelmalik and Yazid ordered against the Christians ; 
while in 771 a.d. the Khalif Abdullah took a census through- 
out Syria and Mesopotamia, ordering all Jews and Christians, 
especially at Jerusalem, to be branded on the necks and 
foreheads. A short-lived union between the Syrians and 
Armenians (726 a.d.) was followed by persecution at the 
hands of the Greeks (750 a.d.), who took away many Syrian 
and Armenian slaves from Mesopotamia to the West. Two 
centuries later Nicephorus Phocas, anxious to unite Christen- 
dom against the Arabs, caused John Sarighta, the Patriarch 
of the Syrians, to be brought to Constantinople, there to 
discuss with Polyeuctus, Patriarch of that city, the differences 
that divided them. In the letter written by John to Mennas 
of Alexandria, we perceive how much the controversy had 
become a mere matter of verbal expression, and how the 
Syrians clung to the words which Greek tyranny had made 
the badge of a rival party. The imprisonment of John added 
to other acts of tyranny confirmed their hatred of the Greeks, 
and made them prefer even the domination of the Moslem. 

A few leaders of the Syrians deserve mention; Michael I., 
who enjoyed the favour of the Turks, and restored the 
monastery of Barsum near Malatia (1167 — 1200 a.d.), which 
John Sarighta had built in the tenth century, did much to 
increase the power of his people. Dionysius IV. had left 
Malatia, hitherto the seat of the Patriarchs, in 1034, and 

300 Bar Hebrasua. 

settled in Amida, in order to be out of Greek territory ; and 
Michael in turn went to Deir-eUZa'aferan near Mardin, which 
has been ever since the head quarters of the Syrian 
Patriarchs.* This monastery had been restored by his pre- 
decessor John the Great (1125 — 1165), and was again 
enlarged and beautified by Ignatius XI. in 1484 a.d. 

In 1226 A.D. was born the one Bishop of the Old Syrians, 
who, besides great writers like Dionysius Bar Salib, has 
gained any notoriety outside his own Church. He was 
nephew of the Patriarch Michael, and a native of Malatia. 
At the age of twenty he was consecrated Bishop of Tripoli, 
twice transferred to other Sees, and finally made Mafrian or 
Metropolitan of the Eastern provinces. His history has been 
written by himself, and he has earned the admiration of the 
impartial Gibbon by the generous toleration of his views, and 
the learning which his numerous writings display. He died 
in 1286, lamented and followed to the grave by members of 
all the Christian communities of Mosul, aflFording a proof of 
the power for unity which one strong and tolerant man may 

* In the summer of 1246, dnriiig the occupation of Antioch by the Franks, 
the Patriarch Ignatius Darid resided there for a short time. 

The Roman Catholic Mission. 301 


MoDSBN History of ths Old Syrians. 

The history of the old Syrians during the last three centuries 
is to be gathered almost entirely from the records of Koman 
Catholic or American travellers and missionaries. English 
travellers have been, as a rule, too callous or too prejudiced 
to be of much value as witnesses, considering the Syrians 
either in the light of fanatical heretics, or professors of a 
degraded Christianity. That neither light is the true one 
has been, I hope, already proved. 

I. To trace the progress of Roman Catholic claims in the 
East would be a long matter, requiring a careful discussion 
of the quarrels between Constantinople and Rome from the 
middle of the sixth century. Even then Papal supremacy 
was no new dogma, and Gregory* only carried out what 
Leo instituted. But a new state of things began with the 
political fall of old Rome, and the consequent rise of the 
Papal power. The period of crusades that give the high 
water mark of Papal influence, may be taken as that in 
which Rome found men to give most practical expression to 
her claim. 

The unwilling homage that Alexius Comnenus exacted from 
the first Crusaders (a.d. 1095) served only to show the Franks 
the tempting prize that a century later fell into the hands of 
their degenerate descendants (a.d. 1203). The Byzantine 

* 590 — 604 A.D. Stephen was the first Pope aotnaUy to break off from the 
authority of the Emperors of Constantinople, when in 750 a.d. he called in Pepin 
the Frank against the Lombards. 

302 Thf Roman Catholic Mission. 

Empire may have fallen low, but all agree in stigmatizing the 
fifty-eight years of Frankish rule in Constantinople as the 
blackest era in the fortunes of that city. The Holy Orthodox 
Church, defiled by ribald Frankish soldiery and a sack of 
unparalleled brutality, provoked the Pope's disapproval, 
" while the Greeks saw the eye of the world, the ornament of 
nations, the fairest sight on earth, the mother of Churches, 
. . . draining the ciij) mixed for her by the hand of the 
Almighty/' " Meanwhile a Venetian prelate was appointed 
Patriarch of Constantinople, and news was sent to the Pope 
that the union of the Eastern and Western Churches was 
accomplished."* As things were at the Capital, so in the 
])rovinces; and Aleppo, Damascus, and Edessa were centres 
for the no less vigorous propagation of Papal power. Never- 
theless, when the Jesuits came to Mesopotamia in 1540, they 
found a more tractable field among the Nestorians than the 
Jacobites, whose position w^as more securely guaranteed by 
the Turk, and whose Patriarch held a high position in the 
Empire. The Roman missionaries succeeded so far with the 
Nestorians that in 1080 the Chaldean, or Papal Nestorian sect, 
was definitely formed under the approval of Pope Pius XI. t 

What induced the several Jacobites to send in confessions 
to Rome, such as that sent by Moses Mardenus to Julius III. 
in 1 552, and some others it is hard to tell ; J at any rate these 
'* reconciliations " were none of them permanent, and the 
Romanizing party among the Western Syrians was finally 
given a separate existence. But, though the Roman power 
increased steadily until in the year 1850, the effects of the 
French and Italian revolutions were seriously felt in the with- 
drawal of public support by those two countries. 

* Oman, Byzantine Empire (Story of the Nationn), p. 292. A not dissimilar 
liistory belongs to Papal Supremacy in Malabar. 

t Ains worth fnunrl in 1837 the convent of the Dominicans in Mosul deserted. 
Since then they have returned to carry on their work with redoubled energy. 

X This confession was disavowed by the Patriarch. A similar confession was 
Kcnt by David Ignatius Patriarcli to Gregory XIII. through Leonard, Bishop 
(^f Tyre, but without result. Anotlier Patriarch, Nehema, who had become 
Mohammedan, finally went over to Rome. Asseman, vol. ii., de Syris Jaoobitis v. 

The Roman Catholic Mission, 303 

Mosul has for many years been considered as the strategic 
point for Papal missions in this part of Turkey. It is a quiet 
corner of the world, where for several centuries Rome has 
had things a good deal her own way. Aleppo and Damascus 
perhaps contain more Roman adherents, but they are chiefly 
drawn from the Greek and Armenian community. 

All that can attract the inclinations or overawe the senses 
is gathered about the Papal organisation at Mosul. It is the 
seat of a " Qassid/^ or Legate, who occupies the finest palace 
in the city, and of the Patriarch of the Chaldean (Papal 
Nestorian) body, whose new mansion is scarcely less splendid 
according to Eastern ideas. The Bishop of the Papal 
(Western) Syrians is a man of culture, surrounded by all the 
luxuries the East can afford ; and none of these three digni- 
taries ever goes from his house without his sword-bearing 
" Qawwases." 

In the same way the churches are made as imposing as 
possible ; and the tower of the Dominican Oratory in Mosul 
is conspicuous among the Mohammedan minarets. The 
churches are built on a magnificent scale, and decorated in 
such a way as to combine the peculiarities of Syrian and 
Roman tradition. Often do the Syrians of a town or village 
say to the American missionaries : " Build us a church finer 
than that of the Latins, and we will all become Protestants." 
Such is the value of display. The same principle guides the 
authorities in the selection of the higher clergy, who are 
drawn almost exclusively from the more patrician or wealthy 
houses, and thus attract their iofluential relations, and bring 
the immense influence that belongs to rich houses to the 
service of their adopted Church. For most of the poorer 
inhabitants of towns and villages are dependants or tenants 
of the wealthy houses. Nothing is spared to make these 
ecclesiastics capable in themselves to fulfil their oflSce, or 
imposing in their surroundings, and it is hinted, too, that it 
thus becomes less difficult for them to make or approve altera- 
tions in the canons of the old Churches. The propaganda of 
Rome is liberal in dealing with the native clergy. As many 
men as possible are sent to receive a good education at the 

804 The Roman Catholic Mission, 

Jesuit's College in Beirut, while those who show special 
promise are sent on to Rome or elsewhere in Europe. Of a 
man, whom the authorities think will repay the outlay, they 
spare neither trouble nor expense to make a perfect tool. So, 
too, when a prize is captured, like the nephew of the late 
Syrian Patriarch, he is treated according to his worth, and 
every effort is made to make him all that Rome can make him. 
In this particular case his father is maintained in Mardin in 
comfortable ease at the Church's expense, in consideration of 
the family influence. 

Of the Latin missionaries themselves, with several of whom 
the writer was on intimate terms, and from whom he always 
received great kindness, there is little but praise to be spoken. 
They are noble, self-sacrificing men, who have done and are 
doing an immense amount of good in educational aud religious 
ways, whatever others may think of the final end they have 
in view, or the means at times adopted to attain it. Their 
policy has been, in the main, to find good strategic points 
from which to work, massing their strength at such places as 
Mardin and Mosul. One seldom hears of the " Padres " 
travelling from place to place ; they are content to stay at 
headquarters, quietly directing the government of the various 
bodies under their control, keeping a firm hand and watchful 
eye upon the higher clergy, and superintending — the most 
important of all — the town schools. Of these they are very 
wary of letting a stranger, unless of their own communion, 
see the inside. It will be seen that they do not thrust them- 
selves to the front, but prefer to do everything through the 
native clergy, a wise policy in a country where foreigners are 

The conditions required of converts are not hard, little at 
first beyond the acceptance of Papal supremacy. The 
native clergy, too, are to a large extent supported by the 
money derived for the masses said for the " faithful '* de- 
parted in France and Austria. Often exemption from taxes 
is held out as an inducement to join the Romans, and freedom 
from a large part of the dues rightly levied by the authorities 
of the native Churches. If to these facts be added the 

The Roman Catholic Mission. 305 

certainty of political protection by means of the wealthy 
members of the community and the French consuls^ and 
above all through the immense influence exercised at the 
Porte by the Papal Legate, to say nothing of the Austrian 
and the French Ambassadors, the only wonder is that the 
Propaganda has not swept all before it. 

The proof of the Papal power lies in the fact of its influence 
with a Mohammedan power, although no good Moslem can 
regard with anything but abhorrence their seemingly 
idolatrous worship, and their free introduction of not only 
pictorial, but even sculptural representation of the human 
and divine form. But in Turkey gates are seldom closed to 
the golden key. 

Nevertheless there remain large bodies, in fact the ma- 
jority, in the native churches, that resist the Pope to the last 
breath, and this for several reasons. Many years of persecu- 
tion have strengthened patriotic feelings ; and, while the 
spirit of religion has gradually faded, there has been fostered 
an almost pathetic clinging to the form and shell. Many 
there are who would gladly embrace any opportunity to 

return from the foreign rule to the communion of their 
restored mother Church. 

Papal supremacy sutfered a severe shock when infallibility 
was broached. Rome was at best an unwelcome refuge for 
proud Syrians, and her yoke had grown heavy enough 
to nearly snap the tightly drawn cords. Her special dogmas 
had never found such favour in the primitive Eastern 
mind, savouring as they did of Protestantism and innova- 
tion, that they could win their way by reasonableness 
alone, unassisted by considerable guarantees of temporal 
protection and material comfort. Yet for all this Some is 
very strong in Turkey, and prepared to maintain her position 
by all means. She does noble work, and her missionaries 
are noble men ; the issue lies beyond us, whether she shall 
prevail or not, and it is an issue in which with very little 
doubt Kussia will play a part. 

II. During the present century missionarj'' efforts have been 
vigorously directed towards Turkey by the two great mission- 

806 The American Mwaions. 

ary bodies of the Congregationalists and Presbyterians of 
America. That the difference in faith between them involves 
no disagreement as to their method of dealing with the 
native Churches is clear from the transference two years 
since of the station of Mosul from the agents of the former 
to the latter.* The whole country is parcelled out into 
stations between the two bodies, although they may be said 
to have no definite mission to either the Syrians or Armenians, 
but to all the inhabitants of the places where the missions are 

The Americans, both in books and conversation, frequently 
refer to the policy of their predecessors, who repudiated 
proselytism and interference with the existing organisation of 
the Churches, so long as it was evangelical. As might be 
expected, they soon found themselves at issue with the 
heirs of a primitive Church as to what was or was not 
evangelical ; and before long it was found impossible for men 
believing in the organisation only as a convenient form to 
work in harmony with men who saw in it signs of its Divine 

institution, t 

The Americans came with a Gospel true in itself, in fact 
containing the very essence of that soul- winning message, 
but so rudely shorn of the garb in which the Eastern 
Christian had been wont from time immemorial to see it 
clothed, that his sensibilities were shocked and his national 
instinct aroused by what seemed sacrilege. It was natural 
that men who talk of the native Syrians as "so-called 

* I muBt here take the opportunity of recording the liberal and charitable 
spirit with which I alwayH met in the American MisHionarios in Turkey, hoping 
that none of their number, who may peruse these pages, will consider anything 
here said, except in the light of fair and sympathetic criticism. Of the personal 
kindness receiyed from the missionaries at Mardin and Mosul, enough is said 

t Two instances will illustrate this. In 1831 a well known American 
Missionary spoke of the Armenian Episcopal Grovemment as a harmless 
institution, an outwork to be allowed to remain if the citadel could be reached 
in spite of it. In 1833 the Armenians of Smj^ma were highly indignant when a 
Bishop, who had married contrary to the rule of the Church, was accepted by the 

The Amencan Missions. 307 

Christians/* and place them in thought on a par with or 
below their Moslem brethren, should be asked for the creden- 
tials of doctrines that never saw the light until their own 
Church was sixteen hundred years old; it was natural that 
the Syrian should ask who it was that helped to build the 
first Christian Church, witnessed the very writing of the 
Gospel itself, and sent missionaries with that Gospel to the 
shores of the distant West. It was a poor gratitude to come 
and charge these men's children with the ignorance and want 
of life that centuries of oppression had conferred as their 
accustomed lot. This is what many a fair-minded Syrian 
does say, though quite acknowledging the personal worth and 
piety of the missionaries, and the valuable work done by their 
schools ; but fair-minded Moslems equally admit this. What 
the Syrian does complain of is the ignorance most of the 
missionaries display of their Church's history, and the small 
allowance made for a conquered people. There are some 
among the American missionaries who have acquired dis- 
tinction as Oriental and ecclesiastical students ; * but in 
general they disregard the early history, the study of which 
is involved in the general axiom that missionaries should know 
so much as will give them sympathy with those among whom 
they labour, as if the charge made against Protestants were 
really true, that Church history begins for them with Luther. 
This tendency has blinded the Americans to many of the 
virtues of the Syrians, in regard to whom it is much to be 
regretted that they have not discriminated more between 
excusable ignorance and deliberate wrong - thinking ; f 
for perhaps no missionaries would have opened out a certain 
side light on the Gospel so well as these noble men have 

* Dr. Shedd of Urmi, and Dr. Vandjok of Beirut, need only be mentioned 
among others. Some of the earlier Americans in Turkey, to say nothing of the 
present generation, were heroes of the mission field. 

t As an instance may be mentioned an American missionary, who for twelye 
years thought the whole Syrian Church services were oonducted in the ancient 
Syriac, which is not ** nnderstanded of the People." The Patriarch introduced 
Arabic largely in the services fifteen years ago. 

X 2 

308 The American Missions. 

Nothing strikes a stranger visiting the American stations so 
much as the apparent disregard for native habits or customs. 
Nevertheless he must remember that the American has 
no mission directly to the Syrian Church. He sees the 
apparatus of a Par West School transplanted into the midst 
of a people whose habits contrast almost ludicrously with 
those of the stranger. It is true, doubtless, that the natives 
are of all things imitative ; and that five years would certainly 
find, in spite of any care of the missionaries to prevent it, a 
considerable modification in the direction of the foreign 
manner of life. But this is no reason why such a change, 
certainly not in itself desirable, should be actually encouraged. 
The missionaries bring with them all that is portable of the 
democracy which is their boast at home, and display" it 
bravely before the pitying conservatism of the East. This 
is done, I believe, deliberately. Not only is it a struggle for 
the American to attune himself to the unchanging etiquette 
of the Orientals, and an overpowering temptation to teach a 
more excellent way, but it is a matter of principle to ex- 
emplify and gain converts to the religious and civil life of 
democratic bliss. Little regard is paid to the conventionalities 
of the " diwan,'' and all natives are treated with an equality 
which is to many an Eastern no less a mark of ignorance than 
insult. But this policy has two bad results ; in the first place 
it is fatal to many customs of daily life, which few who have 
visited the Kast desire to see die out ; secondly, the Eastern 
is not as a rule ripe for the change, even with the long and 
careful training from the Western teachers which some 
obtain. The fatal veneer of Western civilisation has only 
to be seen to be deplored; and in considering the good 
specimens of the training, one must bear in mind others of 
a different kind which a similar contact has produced 
nearer the coast. The mental and spiritual danger is more 
serious. Men, especially young students, taught to sub- 
stitute for the authority of Church and Bishop an appeal 
to their own conscience, are apt to become their own 
Bishops, and running into the extremes of private judg- 
ment, or even rationalism, clamour for the abolition of all 

The American Missions, 309 

restraint* of thought or action. And here one word as 
to schism. If in the West we find schism bred by schism, 
and that liberty of thought has not fulfilled all that was 
predicted of it, what shall we say of the East ? Not only 
is the unity, which is the bond of peace, not the most 
striking feature of the new independent communities, but 
the establishment of missions. Papal or Protestant, which 
are avowedly proselytising, cannot but give an oppor- 
tunity to the worst fault of the Syrian, material cupidity, 
and the desire to play off one mission against another. This 
is the great weakness of proselytism all over the world ; but 
how fatal must it be when it is attempted in the ca«e of an 
ancient Church, which it is our duty not to weaken, but 
rather strengthen by all the aid that a foreign and friendly 
Church can supply. 

Some Americans reluctantly admit much of what I have 
said, and regret that means were not found to keep oo good 
terms with a Church that claims for the Bible all that the 
extremest Protestants claim, and welcomed originally the 
Americans as protectors against Roman intrusion. 

Of the manner of life among the missionaries it would be 
impertinent to say anything, since that is a matter that 
concerns themselves alone. Where it can be afforded, it is a 
good thing to have married men among these Easterns, one of 
the great lessons which they have to learn being the respect 
due to women. The natives do undoubtedly look on the 
missionaries as not living a very self-denying life ; but people 
who think life in their own Mardin the acme of human bliss^ 
would not appreciate the privations of exile, to say nothing of 
other things. Reports are often heard of the luxury of the 
missionaries; they may be absolutely denied^ except in the 
case of those who have private means^ and cost the mission 

Lastly, I would say that I do think the Americans pursue 
a wrong policy, even granting for a moment that schism is 

not a wrong act in itself. Missionary expediency — the only 

— ____^ • 

* The danger is a yery real one, especially among Armenians. Henoe the 
popalarity of the Plymouth doctrines for certain American converts. 

310 The True Method of Treating the Church. 


argument which will be heard, and the liberal courtesy and 
spirit of Christian charity with which the Americans listen to 
it, should be carefully remembered — should lead them to 
appreciate the evil results of weakening existing Churches. 
The education which they give is the best in Turkey, and 
it is scarcely fair to treat with little but abuse men who 
undertook the work which the Church of England left 
untouched during fifty years of piteous appeal. 

III. If existing agencies have failed in their dealings with 
the Old Syrian Church, it is reasonable to inquire what agency 
and what methods are more likely to succeed. The urgent 
requests of the Patriarch himself, and the many expressions 
from others in the Church, answer the former question. To 
obtain full materials for answering the second, the journey of 
which the present work gives a sketch was undertaken on 
behalf of the Society that has been working quietly for the 
last twenty years to help the Patriarch in carrying out his 
scheme of education and renovation. That no interference 
with existing organisation or practices which were not opposed 
to Catholic principles should be contemplated, seemed a first 
principle. To renew and strengthen the Ancient Church 
was the aim, and the method seemed to be that of supplying 
to the Patriarch the means of starting a school of religious 
teaching for his clergy. This should be the starting point, 
and from it it may be that work might expand in many 
streams. For this school there is the monastery called Deir- 
el-Za*aferan, capable of holding a very large number of 
students, over the teaching of whom an Englishman might 
preside. Before all things it is necessary to emphasize the 
need of pure religious and moral teaching, all experience 
agreeing as to the importance among this people of the 
precept to " Seek first the Kingdom of God." Any suspicion 
that the English Church has views of wide acquisition and 
proselytism in the East can only be removed by experience, 
and those who have charge of the work should be careful to 
show themselves helpers first and teachers afterwards. In all 
things it should be borne in mind that the people are patriotic 
to the core ; superstitious perhaps in their clinging to old 

The True Method of Treating the Church. 811 

ways ; but above all do they claim to be members of the old 
Syrian Patriarchate of Antioch, of whom it may be said that 
it is a miracle that their loyalty has withstood so firmly the 
disintegrating forces of three hundred years. 

Again^ it is clear from all evidence that Christian effort 
among the Moslems is at present impracticable. The extreme 
efforts required, the infinitesimal results, and the fearful 
persecution consequent on conversion, have persuaded even 
the most sanguine that the times are not ripe for the work. 
What then can be wiser than to turn the attention to those 
Churches, who, if in the future they do not co-operate in the 
work of Mohammedan conversion, will be the greatest 
hindrance to it ? The Moslem will for ever see in them a 
proof that Christianity can outlive itself, as he points the 
finger of scorn and says, " Physician, heal thyself.'* Who, 
on the other hand, would be better qualified than the Syrian 
to deliver the Gospel, which he once delivered to us, to the 
sons of the apostates of his own land ? for on the difference 
between Eastern and Western character all are agreed ; and 
few deny the hopelessness of really reaching the one through 
the other. Nor can the debt we owe to the Eastern Churches 
be better repaid than by helping to renew the spirit of their 
faith, which they have so largely lost, and teaching their 
children to understand the meaning of those truths which 
long darkness has obscured.* 

* I cannot refrain from quoting from a paper lately ioraed by the English 
Bishop in Jerusalem, to corroborate what is here said with the words of one 
whose words are weighty. 

'* The Churches of the East are aware that one day they must become the 

missionaries to the East, the Jew and the Moslem The Churches 

are at present under the most numbing oppression that erer weighed upon 
Christianity. They are not allowed to do missionary work, yet the very life of a 
Church depends on its being missionary. They are not aided or encouraged in 
education, consequently ignorance degrades them, with much of the vice that 

follows upon ignorance The spread of education will mean the 

rcTiyal, already stirring, of spiritual lifo in the Churches. It is renoTation rather 
than reformation that they need ; some are separated by a false, others by a 
nominal rather than a real charge of heresy. They need but a sister Church 
who, as a common friend, may bring together those whom pride mainly serers 
from those whose orthodoxy is unquestioned." 

312 The True Method of Treating the Church. 

To conclude, from only one direction does the Syrian 
Church discern the possibility of gaining disinterested help 
to resist the inroads made upon her, which it is surely not the 
duty of the English Church to tacitly encourage by neglecting 
such an opportunity of furthering the cause of the Catholic 
Church. For seventy years the Syrian Church has been 
crying for someone to come over and help her. She cannot 
stand alone as yet; and it is time something was done to 
redeem the long period of callousness and neglect during 
which her cry has been unheard. Something has been done 
through the untiring exertions of a few devoted friends ; would 
it not be a neglect, that might have some day to be answered for, 
if the English Church does not follow up these exertions, and 
show that our true claim to a primitive faith and catholicity 
lies not so much in la\'ish indulgence of sentimental taste at 
home, as in the extending of a hand of sympathetic charity to 
distressed sister Churches in the Bast ? Intercommunion 
with a Church excommunicated by the Holy Orthodox Church 
is for us out of the questicm, until the faith as expounded at 
Chalcedon be formally acknowledged by her. May it not be 
hoped that by the aid of a friend to both Communions the 
breach between the Greek and Syrian may be healed ? The 
charge of heresy there is good reason to believe is a formal 
one, and it will be no unworthy deed if the English Church 
shall so use her intercession and help that at some future 
date there may be one Patriarch of Antioch, both for Greek 
and Syrian ; aod not only a source of weakness be removed 
with the division, but a step taken towards that universal 
union of Christendom for which all loyal Christians pray. 
That the union would have to be based on an explanation 
from the Greek side of the doctrine of Chalcedon, which we 
too acknowledge, and a readiness from the Syrian side to 
accept the language which enshrines a truth which they are 
among the foremost to declare, is the most reasonable hope 
to express. Perhaps it is an event far in the distance, but 
it is no impossible dream to conceive the day when all these 
churches shall once more practice in general and authoritatively 
the intercommunion which is in cases of extremity allowed ; 

The True Method of Treating the Church. 313 

and is it too fond an affection for our loved English Church 
that sees in her the instrument by which it is possible that 
this unity may be accomplished ? It was with a belief in its 
possibility that the work of the above-mentioned society was 
inaugurated by the late Archbishop of Canterbury; the 
success of which work is a sure ground of hope that the 
means will be found to carry it to its end. 


314 The Patriarch. 


Thb Clergy and Churches of the Old SYRLiNS. 

The oflScial title of the chief of the Old Syrian * Church is 
''His Holiness Moran Mar Ignatius Peter III., Exalted 
Patriarch of the Apostolic See of Antioch and of all the 
Jacobite Churches of Syria and in the East.*' He has some- 
times been called " Papa Orientis/' '' Patriarcha theopolis 
AntiochiaB totiuscfue Orientis ; "f but the first is the title most 
generally used. He is the absolute chief, spiritual and tem- 
poral, of his people, the Porte finding it convenient to deal 
with its Christian subjects through a chief directly responsible 
to Constantinople; nor is it long since, to balance this 
authority, the Patriarch was liable to be called upon to 
answer in person for the crimes committed by any of his 
people. The present Patriarch has obtained, by strenuous 
exertions, the right to be directly represented at Constan- 
tinople, instead of the mere right to appeal through the 
Gregorian- Armenian Patriarch. He has now a Bishop at 
Constantinople, with the right of audience of the Sultan. 
Since 709 a.d. the Patriarchs have been in the habit of 

* This name is adopted as that by which the people are spoken of by them- 
selyes and their neighbours in the East. It distinguishes them (1) from the 
Greeks of Palestine by the word Syrian, (2) from the Latin proselytes by the 
word old, (3) from the Assyrians or East Syrians by the same words. No theorj 
is propounded or maintained by this use of this title ; nor has any consideration 
weighed but that of custom and conyenienco. 

t Benaudot, Liturg. Orient, i. 375. 

The Patriarch. 315 

receiving diplomas from their infidel rulers. Walid gave to 
Elias, the then Patriarch, such a diploma (in 711 a.d.) two 
years after his consecration^ and ordered him to enter 
Antioch, whence the Syrians had been driven by the 
Greeks, and there build a Church. The various rulers of 
Armenia, the Tartars, and the Arabs, have given this 
diploma to subsequent Patriarchs ; and at the present 
time there hangs in the Patriarch^s guest room at Mardin 
a " Nishan " or " Tughra,'' a great order framed upon the 
wall, as a visible token of the recognition of the Sublime 

The Patriarch acknowledges no control from any of his 
clergy when once consecrated, except in the case of heresy, 
when the Bishops may depose him, as was done in the case of 
Paul the Black in 574 a.d.* He may also be deposed by the 
unanimous vote of the whole people. This authority he wields 
in virtue of the right, which he alone possesses, of consecrating 
the sacred oil necessary for the consecration of all clergy. 
For many years he has had the sole right to consecrate all 
Bishops of the Church, but there is good reason to believe 
that this has been arrogated contrary to original custom. 
The first Patriarch to claim the right was Theodore, in 
649 A.D., when he ordained the Mafrian Denha; and Bar 
Hebraaus speaks of it as having been the general rule for 
many years, although the consent of the Bishops of the 
Eastern province was necessary before consecration by the 
Patriarch of Bishops for that province was possible.t The 
Mafrian, during the Patriarchate of Dionysius (835 a.d.), is 
especially mentioned as having consecrated oil for use in the 
Eastern province, and there have been instances, notably 
that of Jacobus Bardaeus in the sixth century, of Metro- 

* Unoanonical cases did oooor, as of Bar Wahib in 1493, and John XI. Abdon, 
who was four times deposed, and died 1077. 

t Bar. Hebr. ap. Asseman II., 380. In 668 a.d., a sohism was caused by 
the Bishops claiming the right to ordain in their own dioceses in accordance 
with the canon of Nicoa, without reference to the Patriarch. It must be added, 
howcTer, that this action of the Patriarchs has been partly caosed by the anto- 
oratic power given him by the Turkish and other Oovemments. 

316 The Patriarch. 

])olitaiis possessing this power. There are, no doubt, 
disadvantages in such an absolute autocracy, but it will 
be readily believed that in a country like Turkey the position 
of the Patriarch has been of great value to his people in 
times of peculiar difficulty, while the harsher features of it 
are considerably softened by the entire freedom of speech 
allowed in his diwan.* 

The Patriarch is elected by the vote of the whole people ; 
if the votes are evenly balanced, the election is decided by 
lot in a long service conducted by the Bishops. The election 
must then receive the approval of all the Bishops of other 
communities resident in Mardin.t The Patriarch should be 
chosen from a rank below a Bishop, from the monks, or even 
deacons. The parish priests, being married, are not eligible 
for the Patriarchate. There is one instance even of a 
layman, Dionysius I., in 818 a.d., being chosen Patriarch, and 
receiving all the preliminary priestly orders. The first 
Bishop consecrated Patriarch was Severus Bar Maske, Bishop 
of Amida, in 977 a.d. In 1222, Ignatius David was raised 
from the Mafrianate to be Patriarch, and for many years this 
custom has been followed. There is, indeed, no canon 
forbidding translation in the Old Syrian Church, but their 
writers show the dislike felt for the custom, as being a k»nd 
of bigamy or re-baptism, especially as a new titular name 
was given to the Patriarch on consecration. All the 
Bishops must bo present, if possible, at the consecration, 
especially the ilafrian, who actually consecrates the 
Patriarch. In old days the senior Bishop of the Western 
province performed this duty, but since 1077 it has belonged 
to the Mafrian, except when the Mafrian himself has been 

* The power of excommunioation is the chief weapon in his hand, and there is 
no fear npon his people so great as the danger of invoking his carse, which gains 
power from the rarity of its ntterance. 

t Asseman U. 381. Dean Maclean (Catholicos of the East, p. 187) upholds 
the hereditary episcopate prevalent amongst the East Syrians. The Old Syrians 
have always strongly repudiated it ; nor does the contrary system work so badly 
as he sormises that it would among Orientals. The custom of Bishops 
nominating young nephews as coadjutors was abolished by Athanasius, Patriaroh 

The Mafrian. 317 

elected.* On assuming the office of Patriarch or Bishop, a 
titular name is taken. Ignatius is the title of the Patriarch, 
and was first assumed in 1293 a.d. by Bar Wahib. It was 
not always taken by his successors, and, by some old Syrian 
writers is condemned as a sort of re-baptism, especially in the 
case where a Bishop becomes Patriarch. 

The office of Mafrian is peculiar to the See of Antioch, and 
represents the independent authority formerly granted to the 
Catholicos of the East. The first Mafrian was Achudemes, 
consecrated by Jacobus BardaBus in view of the heresy of the 
Persian Church; but the first generally recognised was 
Maruthas, since he first occupied the fixed See of Tegritf in 
629 A.D. In 991 A.D. Tegrit was confirmed as the seat of the 
Jacobite Mafrian, and Baghdad of the Nestorian Catholicos 
by order of the Khalifa. But in 1089 Tegrit was destroyed 
by the Arabs, and John Salib the Mafrian consequently 
moved to Mosul. However, a quarrel with the Metropolitan 
of the Monastery of Mar Mattha near Mosul caused the 
Mafrian Dionysius (1112 — 1134) to return to Tegrit and 
there rebuild the church. In 1153 a council was called by 
John, Bishop of Mardin, and confirmed in 1155 by the 
Patriarch Athanasius, which formed the diocese of Mosul, 
containing Mosul Tegrit and the monastery of Mar Mattha, 
and ordained that Mar Mattha should be the seat of the 
Mafrian. Previously a Metropolitan Bishop had resided at 
the monastery, consecrated by and holding the next place to 
the Mafrian, according to the Nicene Canon. The Mafrian 
was in early days consecrated by all the Bishops of the 
Eastern province, over which he was to rule. In time his 
jurisdiction grew to be very extensive, reaching eastwards 
to Urmi and Tabriz, and southwards to Baghdad; so 
that, especially at the time of the Arab and Mogul in- 
vasions of Persia, during which many Jacobites were taken 

* This role was oonfirmed by Dionysiua, Patriarch 835 A.D., and by the 
Counoil of CapartatsB in 869. 

t Bar. Hebr. Am, II., 414, 419, 441, 448. Asseman identifies Martyropolis 
with Tegrrit. It is most g^enerally supposed to be Meiafarkin, near Diarbekr. 
Cp. John Eph. vi. 20. Le Qaien, Or. Christ, ii. 1533. 

318 The Bishops. 

with the invaders, there were more Jacobites in the Eastern 
than the Western province. The Mafrian became practically- 
independent of the Patriarch, ordaining, consecrating oil, 
and forming new dioceses all through the East ; while during 
the period 935 — 1345 a.d. some Mafrians consecrated as many 
as fourteen Bishops. Bar Hebra^us, himself Mafrian (1264 — 
1286), says, " In this my diocese I live, by the Grace of God, 
in much quietness, and in it I lack nothing which should 
induce me to leave it for another, like those of my predecessors 
who are departed. . . . Even were I ambitious of the 
Patriarchate, as some men, yet when I behold the Western 
dioceses, how wasted they are, what remains in them that I 
should desire them ? " Of all the power little now remains. 
One small diocese, that of Mosul, is left from the numerous 
divisions of the Eastern province, and the Mafrian retains no 
authority except that of an ordinary Bishop, although the 
first of the Bishops^ and holds that authority direct from the 

The Bishops are divided into two classes; those chosen 
from among the monks, who are called " Mutrans,*' and those 
chosen from parish priests who have lost their wives, and 
have so become eligible for the Episcopacy. These are 
called " Askof (Episcopi). The Greek custom of con- 
secrating a priest to the Episcopacy and sending his wife 
into a convent, is unknown. The Askof rank a little below 
the Mutrans, and are eligible neither for the Metropolitan nor 
Patriarchal dignity. 

The duties of the Bishops are nearly as much civil as 
religious ; they are the chiefs and overseers of their diocese, 
and to them the people come to have all kinds of cases 
judged, whether of theft, or divorce, or even murder. It 
is a frequent sight to see in the Bishop's diwan a poor 
widow seeking aid against an oppressqr, or two parties 
settling, without the great expense of the civil courts, some 

* The name Mafrian is derived bj Bar Hebreeus from the root " Afran," 
fraitfolnesa, and means*' Father of fathers/' His other title is " Metropolita 
MagnuH Orientis." He also claims the title of Catholioos, bnt this is denied him 
by the Nestorians. 

The Bishops. 319 

quarrel that has occurred. The priests, monks, and deacons 
are as a rule ordained by them, only a few being ordained 
by the Patriarch ; but the Bishops have not the duty of 
confirmation, that rite being joined with the baptismal 
ceremony performed by the priest. 

The Bishops are much looked up to by the people, who 
address them as " Sayyidna," my Lord, or if intimate, 
'^Abuna,*' my Father. "Sayyidna** is also the form of 
address to the Patriarch, while strict formality imposes all 
sorts of complimentary forms, the recognised one being 
" Sa'adatkum,'^ " Your happiness, or beatitude,^' or more 
rarely '* Qudsakum,'^ your Holiness.* Christmas and Easter, 
the great and the little Feast, are the special " diwan ^' 
days of Bishops and Patriarch, when the people crowd 
to visit them, bringing their small offerings toward their 
maintenance. These bring in no exorbitant incomes, the 
expenses of the Patriarchal diwan being little over £100 
a year, and the income of a Bishop £40, if he be very 
" discreet.'' The various duties of a Bishop, and the time he 
must spend in travelling from village to village, prevent him 
from undertaking any secular work, such as is done by some 

The dress of Patriarch and Bishop is similar, being nothing 
but a modification of lay attire, with a special turband. Over 
the tunic, reaching to the feet, one of rich material and colour 
being used on high days, is worn an ordinary cloak or "abba'' 
of black or coloured cloth. The Patriarch's state dress 
consists of a tunic of scarlet silk, bound at the girdle with a 
scarf of white and gold Baghdad embroidery, over which he 
wears a black satin cloak. Generally, however, he dresses as 
simply as his clergy, reserving the other dress for high occa- 
sions, on which he wears his gold cross upon his breast above 
his orders, and is preceded by his monks. The turband 
proper to the Episcopal order is a large round headdress 
upon a card or canvas frame, covered with black cloth in 

* The title Mar, prefixed to the names of all Bisbops, as well as the Saints, 
means " My Lord," being strictly an Episcopal title. 

320 The Bishops. 

fine folds, which is, as far as I know, peculiar to the Old 

*' When a Bishop receives consecration he stands at the 
door of the altar, while the Patriarch says, ' I call you in the 
name of the Holy Ghost,' three times. Then the other will 
kneel, and respond to the call. He will then be taken to the 
Sanctuary, and many prayers will be said. After that the 
vestments belonging to the office will be taken and given to 
the man by the Patriarch, who will himself dress him in the 
' Pathrasinom ' and vdW place the head-dress upon him. 
After crying ' Auxios '* three times he will call the Bishop 
by his titular name. Then more prayers are said by the 
Patriarch, during which he places his hand upon his 

The Bishops wear neither mitre nor ring, the sign of their 
office being the gold or silver-gilt cross with which they bless, 
and the silver-gilt staff surmounted by two serpents, which 
also is carried before the Patriarch when he rides out. Each 
Bishop on consecration receives one of the titles given below, 
which belong to the various Sees. This is in accordance with 
a custom begun by Bar Wahib, as mentioned above ; but as 
Jiishops are not infrequently translated from one See to 
another, it now happens that more than one Bishop has the 
same title ; for instance, the late and the present Bishop at 
Jerusalem are both called Gregorius. With the decadence 
of the Church dioceses have of course become confused, 
<mly the greater Sees of Jerusalem, Amida, Damascus, 
Mardin, Mosul, Edessa, and Nisibis, remaining in their 
ancient condition. 

For the consecration of a Bishop, the presence of three 
Bishops is necessary, and by them the whole service is con- 
ducted. The ceremony begins with a profession of faith, 
proclaimed by one of the Bishops, and signed by the Bishop 
elect. The Gospel is read by the Patriarch and held open 
above the head of the elect. After he has given him his 

• i.e. A^tos — ^he is worthy. 

-t- From the description of a Bishop from Malabar. 

The Bwhopun 


vestments and pastoral stafF^ the Patriarch signs him on 
the forehead in token of his consecration, enthrones him, 
and then reads a second section of the Gospel.* 

At different periods of the Church's history there were 

* The following is a table of the Old Syrian Bishops and their Sees, 


I. Antioch 

II. Jerusalem 

ni. Damasons 

IV. Edessa 


y. Amida 

Title of 







Peter HI. 





The merely nominal seat of the 
Patriarchate sinoe Paul the 
Black; Elias lived there in 
711 ; later Athanasius VII. 
and Ignatius David (1 246 oirc.) 
spent each a short time there. 

In 1134 the four sees of Syria, 
Jerusalem Damascus Tri- 
poli and Emesa, were reduced 
to two, Jerusalem and Da- 
mascus. The Bishop of 
Jerusalem holds in theory 
the position of the fifth Patri- 
arch, as in the early days^ 
but his diocese is very small. 
That of Damascus or Homs 
(Emesa) contains about ten 
thousand Old Syrians. To 
Ignatius Komanus, of the 
monastery of the Magdalene, 
Bishop 1140—1185, Bar- 
Salib sent a commentary on 
the Eucharist. 

The home of Jacobus BardsBus, 
Dionysius, Bar Salib, and 
many other famous Syrian 
writers and leaders. Still an 
important See. 

Always a separate diocese from 
Mardin, and dating from the 
time before the Council of 
NicflBa. Acacius, Bishop of 
Amida, was famous for having 
sold the plate of the Ohurch to 
redeem 7,000 Persian captives 
taken by Theodosius, aj>. 421. 



The Bishops, 

many other Sees formed; but these twelve alone remain.* 
The translation of Bishops has created great confusion in 
their titles ; for instance there are two Gregorius' ; Abdullah 
now Bishop at Diarbekr has been twice translated, first 
from Jerusalem, then from Kmesa ; and Georgius, now at 
Urfa, has the title of the See of Diarbekr, whence he was 

In addition to the Bishops above mentioned there are six 


VI. Mardin 

Title of 



The Patriarch 

Vn. Niifibw i Athanasius 


VIII. Maiferacta Ivanins 

IX. Mogul 
X. Magadan 



XI. Aleppo 
XII. Jazirek 

I DionyAiofl 
: Jnllnn 



Xni. Turabdien 

Several metro- 
IK>litan8 in the 

The Bishop sometimes resided 
in the monastery of Carta- 
mina, close to the city, 
founded before 500 a.d. 

The seat of the famous S. James 
in the fourth century. At one 
time united with Mardin, bat 
now a separate See. The first 
Jacobite bishop since the 
Nestorian schism was Abra- 
ham Jacob in 631. 

Asseman (U. 834) says it was 
sometimes joined with Tegrit. 
He seems to have confused 
the two, applying the ancient 
name Martyropolis wrongly to 

The seat of the Mafrian. 

ThiH See includes the district 
north of the Tigris and east 
of Diarbekr. Now joined to 

On the Tigris sixty miles north 
of Mosul, called Becabde by 
Ammian (20. 15). Its Bishops 
were subject to the Mafrian. 

The district of Jebel Tur ; whose 
Bixhop resided sometimes at 
Salah, sometimes at Uakh. 

* Other titles belonging to ancient Sees are GeorgiuH, Dioscorus, Clemens 
Philoxenus, Anthimus, Eustathins. 

The Bishops, 823 

cecumenical Bishops, that is, Bishops residing in monasteries, 
without regular Sees. These are : 

Askof Efrem, at Deir-el-Omar in Jebel Tur. 

Mutran Elias, at Deir Mar Mattha near Mosul. 

Askof Ablahad, at Deir Salib in Jebel Tur. 

Mutran Sham^un, at Deir Mar Jacob at Salah. 

Mutran Denha, at Deir Mar Abrahum at Midhiat. 

Askof Bulos, at Constantinople. 
The first man consecrated Bishop of a monastery without a 
See, " honoris causa," was John, Bishop of the monastery of 
Cartamina, in Mardin (d. 578). 

The canonical age for consecration is thirty-five ; but the 
rule has for long been laxly kept. Bar Hebraeus became 
Bishop of Tripolis at the age of twenty.* In the same way 
deacons are often ordained at ten years old instead of the 
canonical age of twenty ; but no one may be ordained to any 
holy office until he can read at least the Psalms. Physical 
defects do not in any way necessarily debar from ordination, 
even to the episcopacy, unless they prevent a man from doing 
his work, such as blindness, deafness, or dumbness. 

Of the priestly order there are three divisions, the monks, 
the priests, and the chorepiscopi. 

The monks, though higher in the hierarchy than the secular 
priests, yet being poor, receive as a rule less respect from the 
people, who are less dependent on them than on the priests, 
unless they are men of distinguished learning or piety, two 
qualities highly esteemed among the Syrians. As from them 
the Bishops are chosen, their lives are spent in the monasteries 
rather than in the towns, and are given up to the study of 
God's word, and the practice of self-denial. Attendance at 
service three times a day occupies much of their time, while 
in the autumn they are sent by the Patriarch to collect tithes 
of com and money throughout the villages, and report on the 
state of the Patriarchal property. 

Their asceticism, if we remember that we are considering 
the East, where wants are few, is not at all excessive, while 

* Bar. Hebr., Ap. ABsem. B.C. ii. 332. Sozomen mentions the custom with 
approval. H.E., vi., 32. 

T 2 

324 The Parish Pn'esLs, 

at the same time it is very real. In a country, moreover, 
where provision for travelling is very meagre, their untiring 
hospitality and kindness in all the monasteries, and without 
any thought of return, is beyond all praise. They are, as a 
rule, frugal, self-denying men ; and the sociable nature of the 
monasteries does away with many of the abuses with which 
such men are generally charged. 

The Priests, on the other hand, being engaged entirely in 
parish work, are obliged to marry before ordination is per- 
mitted. A priest, whose wife dies, if he does not become an 
Askof, generally retires to a monastery, since the people have 
a strong feeling against an unmarried parish priest, and the 
canons forbid their second marriage. There is, too, an 
interesting office for the ordination of the priest's wife, now 
unfortunately seldom used, but which thus provides for a 
kind of order of deaconess. In villages where there are no 
priests, the church is served by a monk from the nearest 

The priesthood carries with it exemptions from some of the 
taxes, and being also a position of great honour, is much 
coveted. It thus happens that in some villages there are far 
too many priests, as for instance Midhiat, a village of three 
thousand inhabitants, which has a Bishop and eight priests, 
besides monks and deacons innumerable. This is an abuse 
which the present Patriarch has done his best to prevent, by 
ignoring the custom which forbids priests to leave their native 
village, and distributing those whom he ordains in villages 
where they are really needed. 

In a village the ])riest is a great man, although, chiefly on 
account of the church council of lavmen and deacons, which 
he is bound to consult, the people are in no way *' priest- 
ridden." He sits in the chief seat, which he will yield only 
to the Bishop or a guest, and is beloved by the flock which 
has chosen him its pastor. There is no rule requiring priests 
to be sons of priests, nor are they generally so ; but when a 
village requires a priest, the church council selects the most 
suitable, for piety, learning, and good influence, and sends his 
name to the Patriarch, who then commissions the Bishop to 

The Parish Pr tests, 325 

ordain him. The priest is dependent on his people for his 
stipend, and in the villages will generally eke out the produce 
of the small church-fees by labour in the field or house. It is 
a pleasant and a usual sight in the country to see the priest 
winnowing the corn among the village men and women, with 
cloak ofiP, and wearing over his tunic only the short jacket 
common to all classes. The only distinction in dress is that 
a cloak of a dark colour is generally worn, and a black 
'^ kafiyah ^' is worn round the turband. All the clergy are 
bound to shave the whole of the head and allow the beard to 
grow.* The title of " Khor-Episcopus " is generally given to 
the leading priest in any large town. He has the duties of a 
lesser Bishop, corresponding roughly to an English Bural 
Dean; but he has no right of ordination, and ranks as a 

All monasteries are under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of 
the diocese, or an oecumenical Bishop ; and those, in which 
Patriarchs or Mafrians are buried, are directly under the 
Patriarch or Mafrian. No Bishop may, however, ordain 
monks without the advice of the Archimandrite.t Of 
the four divisions of monks, CeDnobites, Eremites, Stylites, 
Inclusi, only the first and last now remain. The Stylites, 
who lived on the tops of pillars, died out in the eleventh 
century ; of the Inclusi there are still a few, living 
in cells among the mountains, devoted to monastic 

The last, but by no means the least important order is that 
of the Deacons, of whom a large number will be found in 
every village, occupied either with secular business or in the 
service of the Church. Education being entirely connected 
with the Church, it happens that nearly all those who study 

* Maclean and Browne, p. 204, say that the Eastern Syrians adopted the custom 
of shaving only the middle of the head to distinguish themselves from the 
Western Syrians, who practise the so-called " Tonsure of S. Paul." The tonsure 
of the monks is performed as a religions ceremony by the Archimandrite of their 

t Bar. Hebr. Nomo. Canon, 7, 10. The monks arc not necessarily ordained ; 
some are lay brethren, or perhaps deacons. 


320 The Deacons. 

at a school, whether in church or monastery, until the age of 
fifteen, are ordained deacons. Some are ordained quite as 
children : others wlio find themselves called to the ministrv 
later in life remain deacons until then. But of the ordinary 
students who are ordained, the larger number return to the 
business of their fathers, an<l remain deacons all their lives ; 
and being proficient in the classical Syriac language, and 
well versed in the Bible and their history, become great 
pillars of the village church, and of no slight assistance to 
the priest or Bishop. One Syrian of Mardin, a merchant, 
has written no less than thirty maimscripts for the use 
of various churches, portions of the Bible or the daily 
sei-vices ; and it is from him more than any one else in the 
church, that the Patriarch seeks advice on every possible 
subject. It may well be imagined that this order is one 
of great value to the Church, comprising so large a number 
of men occupied in secular business, yet with considerable 
learning and a large interest in everything that concerns the 

Other deacons there are, who remain deacons to be teachers 
in the monastery schools : while others are ordained to the 
priesthood. It is a far more real order than with us in 
Kngland, and the step to the priesthood is regarded as very 
important. In the services of the Church the deacon has a 
part almost as indispensable as the priest; the exhortations, 
the ejaculations, and the psalms are said by him; he prepares 
the holy bread, swings the censer, and gives the holy elements 
from the priest's hand to the people. 

The lesser orders, the Psaltes, the Reader, the Hypo- 
diaconus, are almost obsolete, the ofiices being performed by 
deacons. Deaconesses also had ceased to exist by the time of 
Michael I., Patriarch 1180 a.d. They might perform all the 
part assigned to the deacon in the Kucharist for w^omen and 
small children, and in nunneries might administer the 
consecrated Eucharist in the absence of a priest. They 
were not allowed to marry after ordination, and their chief 
duty was to assist at the baptism and unction of adult 
women. But as adult baptism ceased to be customary, and 

The Syrian Churches. 327 

nunDeries to exist, the office became obsolete,* and Las been 
replaced by the ordination of tbe prieats' wives mentioned 

It ma; not be deemed uut of place to give here some account 
of the many beautiful churoheH scattered among mountains 

Cbdbch of S. Haht Thi Viboin at Hakh. 

inhabited by the Syrians. Foremost in interest as in beanty 
comes the church of Hakh, a village situated in the centre of 
Jebel Tur, about fifty miles due east of Mardin. Of this 
church the story goes how at the Saviour's birth not three 
only, but twelve wise kings came from the far East through 
Nineveh to Jebel Tur, and there rested at the great town of 
Hakh on their way to pay homage to the Holy Child. At 
Hakh nine of them remained, while three continued on their 

* The ordera are tlitu eDiimerat«d in the Sjrion PontiAtml (Ap. Aaaein.) :— 
Blinoree : Psaltei, AnagDoates, Hypoduoonos. Mftjorei: (1) Duuxmiu. Archi- 
duconua ; (2) PreBb;ter, ChorepiscopnH, PeriodeateB ; (3) EpUoopDS, Metro- 
polito, FatriwaliK. Juiitor, AoolTta, EioroUta. are inoladad andsT Un^)- 


The Stfriau Chnirhfn, 

journey to the Holy Land. Now as they rested in the 
evenings and washed the cloths of their turbands and dried 
them by the fire, for it was winter time, the cloths fell all 
upon the ashes of the fire; and when they took them up, 
behold on each was printed the image of a king. Such a 
wonder demanded that a church should be built to preserve 
the cloths ; and on that very day the people set themselves to 


A Sanctuary containing High Altar, and 

Stalls for Bishop and Clergy. 
B Side Altar. 

C It i« 

D Modem Stone Screen. 

E I'ine of Vault supporting Dome. 

F Galleries in the Narthex. 

Q Modern Portico. 

H Modem Chambers. 

I Lecterns. 

build the first church in Hakh,^ being converted to the faith 
of the new-born Saviour. And they built it there to the 
memory of the nine wise kings, and to the glory of the Virgin 
Mother of the Lord. And there stands the church until this 
day; but the wonderful cloths have gone, the spoil of time 
or of the infidel. So the priest told me ! and who will say 

* Tradition sayd that the Magi bailt the ohoroh of Mart Miriam in Urmi. — 
Maclean and Browne, p. 301. 

The Syrian Churches, 329 

that the tale is one whit less true than the legends told at 
many a European shrine ? 

The church was small, but exceedingly beautiful both in 
ornament and proportion. With the three arms of a cross, 
and a vestibule at the west taking the place of the fourth, it 
follows a plan of design similar to that of the domed 
Byzantine churches. The east arm is semi-circular, and forms 
an apse; the south and north are square upon the ground 
plan, but semi-vaulted like the east end, so that the roof is 
all symmetrical. On each side of the apse is another 
sanctuary, with a door, evidently original, leading to the 
central altar; but it was interesting to note that while the 
side sanctuaries (such being the purpose for which they are 
now used) are entered by a door from the body of the church, 
the stone screen, through which a curtained door leads to the 
chief sanctuary, is palpably of modern date. The plan shows 
a transition from the plan of the earlier church at Nisibis, 
where the sanctuaries are all quite open to the church, and 
are distinguished merely by shallow apses round a raised 
space at the east end, and that of the church at Arnas, where 
there are three sanctuaries, those on each side being separate 
chambers entered by a door, and the central one raised and 
shut off by a screen of four open pillars and arches. The 
existing screen at Hakh was a heavy wall, and quite spoiled 
the beauty of the sanctuary within. 

Behind the altar in the apse were built five stalls, carved 
with simple leaves upon the capitals at the sides, and canopied 
with the beautiful shell design that was such a favourite in 
later Roman work. Here doubtless sat the Bishops and 
clergy. It was their usual place of old ; and we read* in his 
own words how S. Athanasius, when pursued by the Arians 
at Alexandria, rose up from behind the altar in the church 
of S. Theonas, and bade the people listen to the hundred 
and thirty-sixth Psalm, and then save themselves from the 
five-thousand armed men who were se.eking for him. Over 
the doors leading into the side sanctuaries were canopies 

* Athan. : Apolog. de faga, 24. a.d. 355. 

330 The Syrian Churches. 

aNo of the same style^ and above all ran a lovely moulding 
of four-fold plait design. On the capitals were carved gar- 
lands of leaves that grow among the hills ; and these were 
continued all round the church, as a cornice below and above 
the now blocked windows. The space of the vault above 
the altar was filled by a great Greek cross spreading its arms 
over the whole, and above the top of it was carved a dove. 
Such is the most extreme symbolism of which true Syrian 
ornament admits. To the west were three doors, the centre 
one large, and finely carved ; flanked by Roman columns and 
surmounted by an elaborate cornice. These led out into a 
portico running the whole breadth of the church, and 
wagon-roofed like the church at Salah already described.* 
It had also at each end a gallery, of which I could not 
discover the use. From this portico, in which were the 
tombs of many Bishops, another door led into a large square 
porch added later. 

Not the least beautiful part of the church was the roof. 
From the arc of the vaults, which cover the four sides 
and the four corners, rose eight walls, and from that again 
an octagon dome, built of thin Roman bricks. Such was the 
most beautiful church in Meso])otamia ; for it was also the most 
complete, whereas the church of S. James at Nisibis, although 
in the detail of its carving much finer, was so ruined and 
restored, that it was difficult to form an opinion of its original 

From the ground plans of the several churches it will be 
seen that they represent various modifications of one design, 
that common throughout the East, a temple divided into 
three parts, the sanctuary, the nave, and the narthex. 
Sometimes there is a fourth division fonning a portico, 
or part of a cloister, known as the "exo-narthex," and 
**pronaos," either within or without the west wall of the 

The churches of Syria, as many as I saw, face east 
and west according to the custom of the fifth and following 

* See p. 181. 

The Syrian Churches, 831 

centuries ; * that is with the door at the west and the altar at 
the east end. The western doors are in the older specimens 
three in number, the central one being according to invariable 
custom the largest of the three, and most profusely decorated, 
the two side doors standing " guards for it, as for a queen. "f 
This is well exemplified at Hakh. 

The '^ ir/jovaos," or vestibule, called also by Eusebius " ra 
cvSoTara irpoirvka/' may have occupied the space now covered 
by the modern portico at Hakh ; while at Deir-el-Omar, and 
at Salah, there still remains a cloister. 


A High Altar. 

B Baised portion of Chancel, four feet, 

enclosed by modem Wood Screen. 
C Side Altar. 
D Nave. 

E Steps down to Tomb of S. James. 

F Font made from broken pillar. 

Q Bichlf Carved Doorways. 

H Doorways now blocked up. 

Scale 16ft. to lln. 

Entering the great west door we stand in the narthex, which 
at Nisibis seems to have been formed of two divisions, like 
that of the church described in the Hellenic journal, these 
two divisions being, it is suggested, adapted for the 

* Cp. Kraas Beal Enoyclopoidie, s. v. Orientiemng. Up to the end of 
the fourth century the altar stood at the west end. the door being, as in the 
Greek and Roman Temple, at the east end ; during the fifth century the later 
custom became fixed. Cp. Headlam, " Supplementary Papers of Hellenic Soc., 
1892," No. i., p. 18. Cp. Euseb., x. 4, 38. 

t Euseb. X. 4, 41. 


Th e Stf via u Gh urch es. 

'' audientes " and "substrati/' whose position was just within 
the building.* The west end of the narthex at Hakh and 
Salah is occupied by the tombs of bishops and clergy, for 
whose burial there was no special building, as was the case in 
some churches. There seems to have been no especial rule as 
to the burial place ; at Deir-el-Za^aferan all the Patriarchs are 
buried in a separate chamber, and this rule is followed in 
most monastic buildings. At Deir-el-Omar, besides the 


A SanctoAry containing Hi^ h Altar. 
B Side Altar. 

D Inscription on wall, 1470 Greek Era = 
1151) A.D. 

E Bemalns of fine polished plaster on 

F Narthex. 
Q Tombs of Bishops. 
H Lectern. 

Scale 16ft. to llii. 

various burial chambers scattered about the monastery, there 
are tombs in the recesses all round the church ; so, too, in the 
church of the Monastery of Mar Mattha, near Mosul, where 
Gregory Bar HebrsDus lies in the north chamber of the 
chancel. S. Gabriel lies in a similar position at Deir-el-Omar, 
from which it seems that, according to his repute for holiness. 

* Headlam, ibid., p. 14. 

The Syrian Churches. 333 

a place of barial was assigned to a saint or bishop. On each 
side of the narthex at Hakh and Salah is a gallery, for which 
the purpose was not obvious, unless it were for the women ; 
but in none of the churches did I see such a gallery in the 
aisles of the nave. Women were little considered, if this was 
all the space assigned to them ; but it is well known that in 
most early churches there was a gallery for them. At Salah 
and Hakh very handsome doorways lead into the nave; at 
Xisibis a low wall that once ran between the two westernmost 
pillars has been succeeded by a wooden rail. The absence of 
a narthex from the church at Deir-el-Omar may be accounted 
for by the fact that it is a monastic church ; but it is scarcely 
probable that here any more than at Deir-el-Za'aferan, where 
there is also no narthex, but only an external cloister, all the 
pilgrims who doubtless visited the place would be permitted 
to penetrate into the nave. 

The naves* appear to be of three types: one domed like 
the conventional Byzantine church, as at Nisibis and Hakh ; 
a second vaulted north and south, as at Arnas j a third having 
a wagon-roof from east to west instead of cross-wise, as at 
Salah. The materials are of three kinds — wood, stone, and 
brick. The roof of the church at Deir-el-Omar, being of the 
third type, and having to span a great space, seemed, as far 
as could be judged from the ground, to have been formed of 
a rough composite laid over beams of wood, this then being 
coated with fine plaster^ and covered with mosaic. The roof 
at Salah is built of bricks, formed in three squares, after the 
manner of parquet flooring. At Hakh the same method is 
used for the roof of the narthex ; and for the octagon dome, 
which has been described, bricks are also used. 

The nave is naturally the place of those worshippers who 
have attained a knowledge of the Gospel faith, of which 
the four pillars that support the dome are typical. It 
contains, in general, nothing but the carpet on which the 
worshippers sit or kneel, and the lecterns round which they 

* Called ivKr4\piO¥ rov XomI in a letter of Valentinian and Theodosius. — Head- 
lam, ibid., p- 15. * 


The Syrian Churches. 

stand to chant the psalms or hymns daring morning and 
evening prayer. The latter are generally substantial wooden 
stands^ on which are placed various books of hymns and 
psalms, and contain underneath a cupboard where other 
books are stored. The only ])icture strictly allowed in Syrian 
churches is a portrait of the Founder frescoed on a wall, as 
at Deir-el-Za'aferan and the church of Mar Behnam, near 
Mosul. Most churches contain other pictures, either framed 


A HifrhAlUr. 
B Side Altar. 

D Borial Chamhor. 

E Tomb of Mar Gabriel 

F Stone. 

Q Tombs. 

H Vestibule. 

Sralo Irtft. to lin. 

importations or frescoes ; but these are modern, and treated 
with little of the reverence they obtain among the Greeks. 
Whether this is due to Mohammedan influence, or a remnant 
or the Iconoclastic controversy, it would be hard to decide. 

A glance at the plans will show how the stereotyped plan of 
the east-end has developed out of the primitive form. In 
modem Syrian churches there are invariably, as far as I 
know, three altars, each generally in a separate chamber. 

The Syrian Chv/rches. 385 

Occasionally there is one large open space containing 
all three^ although a distinct dome for each marks their 

The name for the whole sanctuary is ih Syrian "Madbkha'^ 
the place of offering, in Arabic " El Heikil " the temple, 
or '^ Quds-el-Qudas " the holy of holies ; but the word 
" Madbkha/' in Arabic '' Mudhbah," is not infrequently 
restricted to the altar^ and the baldachino which covers it. 

Three chapels, or sanctuaries, are supposed to prove a late 
date for a church ; an internal apse an early one. At Hakh 
and Nisibis we have both characteristics. It will be seen, too, 
that the earlier churches have no stone wall in the original 
plan, in front of the altar; the later ones have either a door 
or a screen. Thus at Nisibis, Deir-el-ZaWeran and Hakh 
we find examples of the earlier type ; at Arnas there is to be 
seen a transition in the columns that form an open screen ; at 
Salah and Deir-el-Omar we find the fully developed chamber. 
At the present time, the practice is uniform of having a large 
curtain across the entrance, which is drawn when the sanctuary 
is not in use ; the same being the case with the side chapels. 
In cases where there was originally no screen, there has been 
raised some sort of barrier ; at Hakh, a wall pierced by a 
large door has been built ; at Nisibis, a wooden trellis-work, 
such as Busebius says was placed round the altar at Tyre, 
stretches in front of the altar ; and at Deir-el-Za'aferan and 
Diarbekr, large folding doors stand open, never used, as far 
as I know. Curtains are universal. Out of the centre 
sanctuary a door leads into each of the side chapels, whose 
arrangement is precisely similar to that of the central one. 
The south chapel not infrequently contains the font in a recess 
in the walls; but its more usual position is just outside the 
chapel.* In this chapel all preparations for the celebration 
are made. 

* Maclean and Browne, p. 291. mention that among the Nestorians, this 
ohapel is both sacristy and baptistry. The south chamber is generally 
called the " diaconicnm '* and used for a vestry, the north the " prothesis " in 
which the elements are laid. The use seemed to vary in different Syrian 

330 The Syrian Uhurche^. 

The beautiful stalls behind the altar in the church of Hakh 
have already beeu described.'^ The custom of so placing 
them seems to have died out with the open sanctuaries. 

The Church of Deir-el-Omar displays most completely the 
final development in the arrangement of the three sanctuaries^ 
and it is interesting to note that tradition says that the church 
was built by a Greek Emperor, In the early days none but 
the sanctified were admitted into the interior parts of the 
church, the rest having a place provided for them without. It 
may be that as the churches became more frequented by all 
kinds of men, and it was thought unfitting that impious eyes 
should behold so plainly what was done at the Holy of Holies, 
as well as from a growing desire to distinguish clergj' and 
laity, it became customary to enclose the sanctuary. 

The altar itself, the actual " Holy of Holies,^' the 
"Throne,^' or *^ Place of Offering," is generally contained 
within a small sanctuaryt of wood or cement set round it, and 
domed above. This is formed of four pillars with lattice work, 
variously decorated at the back and sides, and with a curtain, 
sometimes of exceedingly beautiful work, to draw across the 
front, when it is not in use, and during the prepai'ation of 
the elements. It is similar to an Italian baldachino, and 
may be well realised by those who have seen the canopy of 
the altar at S. Mark's church in Venice. On the altar 
itself there is nothing but the Book of the Gospels, and the 
sacred vessels, which always stand there. These stand on 
rich embroideries, or common printed calico, according to 
the means of the congregation. On the rear-altar, formed 
sometimes of three or four tiers one behind the other, stand 
several crosses, with vases and candles. Two candles always 
stand one on each side of a cross on the lowest tier. The 
side altars are adorned with the same or greater simplicity. 

* Op. Headlam, p. 17, the remains of the BUhop's chair, and seats of the 
Presbyters are still to be seen at Koja Kalessi. Cp. Eus. x.. It. 44. 

t Called " ciborimn." " S. Chrysostom noes the word to explain the silyer 
shrines of Diana in the Acta. Subsequently the name was given to the Pyx 
erected under it for the reservation of the Host." Payne Smith on John Eph., 
ii. 30. 

The Syrian Churches, 387 

In front of the altar at the top of the steps which lead 
down to the nave stands the wooden lectern^ and on it the 
Book of the Gospels bound in leather, and with the front 
overlaid with a silver representation in the Byzantine style 
of the Crucifixion.* On each side, or below in the nave, 
stands one candlestick or more, at the side of which hangs 
the thurible. A small stock of books, and the chair of the 
Bishop just within the door, complete the furniture of the 
sanctuary. In the north chapel are kept the oil and 
"morone" used in the baptisms and ordinations of the 
Church. The valuable property of the Church, such as silver 
vessels or ancient books, is generally kept in a recess in the 
wall behind the high altar, called the treasury. 

Note on St&ian Manuscbipts at Deib-bl-Za'afbran. 

1. 1156 A.D. Three Commentary on Bible, compiled from works of St. James 

oolomns parch- (of Nisibis or Bardans) and St. Efrem by John, 

ment. Bishop of Mardin. 

2. 1001 A.D. Two Commentary on the Gospels by Philoxenus and Abraham 

oolomns parch- of Malatia (on the Euphrates), containing hymns of 

ment. St. Efrem and St. James. 

3. 1044 A.D. Two Copy of Gospels, written by John, Bishop of Deir Mar 

columns paroh* Gabriel (Dei^el Omar). Ornamented margins, 


4. 1055 A.D. Two Copy of the Grospels, written by Shammas Peter, who 

columns parch- was killed by the Moslems, containing full-page paint- 

ment. ings of the Virgin, St. John, St. James, Mar Barsom, 

Mar Georgios. 

5. Smaller copy of the Gospels^ exceedingly finely written, 

but containing no date. 

6. Syrian treatise on the Nestorian controversy, containing 

no date. 

7. List of Eastern Bishops at Council of Ephesus. Greek 

words occur in the margin frequently. 

8. Some writings of Bar Hebneus. 

9. Part of the writings of St. Chrysostom. 

10. A calendar dating from the tenth century, treating of 

political and ecclesiastical events. 
Cp. Ainsworth, ii. 345 ; Badger, i. 51. 

* Theodoret, v. 3, speaks of the reverence paid to the Book of the Gospels in 
early time. Its position in the Church is significant, the most conspicuous 
object in the building. Cp. Bright, 162. 



338 The Syrian Churches. 

Most of these books are kept in a cupboard in the lower diwan of the 
monastery, others in the Patriarch's house at Mardin. It is probable that more 
might be found hidden in the chambers below the church. 

Midhiat was the only other place containing a library that I had any 
opportunity of visiting, although there are said to be small but interestmg 
collections of liturgical books at Deir^el-Salib and Enhal. The latter I could not 
visit ; I found the priest had left the former for a journey, and taken the key of 
his room with him. 

The most interesting book at BCidhiat is a small copy of the €k>8pelB in most 
exquisite Estrangeli character, but in the Greek language, which is valuable as 
showing that the present custom of writing the current language in Syriao 
character is an old one. The book belongs to the ninth century, and is 
written on fine vellum ; it contains many words, on whose transliteration the 
writer was doubtful, in Greek letters on the margin, and would form a valuable 
guide to the pronunciation of Greek at that date. 

There is another small copy of the Gospels, dated 929 A.i>., being a translation 
from the Greek : besides two large copies of the version made by Thomas of 
Harkcl, and dated 1530. 

The few books of interest that ever existed at Mosul seem to have been sold 
or lost. A small collection still remains at Diarbekr, but I had no opportunity 
of examining them. Their existence there as elsewhere is kept a secret, in order 
to escape the ravages of Moslems and collectors. 

The Syrian Eucharist, 339 


The Customs and Condition op the Old Syrians. 

I. The Liturgy in use among the Old Syrians is that of 
S. James, of which translations are given in several English 
books.* Certain peculiarities of this Church may, however, 
here be noticed. 

The celebrant, after his preparation, retires to the south 
sanctuary to vest himself. Returning thence to the central 
altar, he sets ready the sacred vessels, and lights the tapers. 
During this the curtain is drawn across the front of the altar, 
and an antiphon sung by two of the deacons. 

The prayers of the oblation from before the altar are pro- 
nounced after the curtain has been withdrawn, and are 
followed by the censing of the altar and the elements by the 
priest, and of all the Church by a deacon. Three or four 
boys meanwhile recite several psalms in succession. 

The Trisagion, '' Holy art Thou, God, Holy, Mighty, 
Holy, O Immortal,^' is remarkable as containing the much 
contended expression, " Who wast crucified for us;" but that 
it refers only to God the Son is laid down very emphatically 
in the Old Syrian profession of faith. The lections follow, 

* The bread used for the Eucharist is leavened, and made of the finest flour. 
The wine is made of the best grapes, pressed by hand instead of the feet. The 
leaven used is mixed with leaven said to have been handed down from the first 
ages, a portion being always retained from each baking. For this custom and the 
tradition connected with it compare Maclean and Browne, p. 248. 

Salt and oil are also mixed with the bread (Cp. Asseman, B. C, ii. 182). The 
bread must be baked fresh for each celebration, and not reserved, *' as the manna 
in the wilderness.'' 

z 2 

340 The Syrian Eucharist. 

first from the Old Testament, then from the Epistles, then 
from the Gospel. The celehrant reads the last from the great 
Book boand in silver, which stands before the altar; while on 
each side of him stands a deacon, holding a lighted taper. 
All stand bare-headed, until the Gospel is finished. The choir 
fills up every interval ^vith singing, and the deacon assisting 
at the altar utters many ejaculations explanatory of or 
calling attention to what is read- by the priest. 

With prayers uttered by the priest and the recital by all of 
the creed, the chief part of the Liturgy begins (i.e. the 
Missa Fidelium), in wliich it is not perhaps necessary to 
mention more than the ^^ Kiss of peace " given near the end. 
The deacon approaches the celebrant, and having taken the 
tips of his two hands between his own, pass his hands down 
over his face. Another deacon then receives the hands of the 
first in the same way, and so the kiss is passed from one to 
another through the whole Church. 

The "Ter-Sanctus,'^ the words of Institution, and the 
Invocation of the Son and Holy Spirit are followed by a very 
long prayer of intercession for the '^ Whole estate of Christ's 
Church,'^ and the commemoration of all its greatest members 
living or dead, and of the Patriarch in especial. Then the 
curtain is again drawn, and the celebrant comes down to the 
entrance of the sanctuary and preaches a sermon in Arabic. 
The same sermon is preached again and again, of the poor 
man and the rich man with a gold ring. The people seem to 
have heard it too often to listen. 

Again the Celebrant returns to the altar, and when the 
curtain has been withdra^vn, with his right hand on the altar, 
and the other uplifted towards the people, pronounces the 
blessing. Then, having broken and signed the bread with 
the cross, he pronounces the Lord's Prayer, and taking the 
sacred vessels in his hands comes westward toward the people. 
During this, as at other times, the boys or deacons about the 
altar beat cymbals, and shako the fans (long staves with a 
round plate at the top encircled with bells). 

The priest then returns to the altar to give thanks and 
dismiss the people. All crowd up to kiss the Gospels and the 

The Syrian Eucharist, 341 

priest's hand and receive the blessed bread* before leaving 
the church. A few remain to receive Communion after the 
rest have gone. 

On Whit- Sunday a curious ceremony occurs after the 
sermon. The deacons begin to chant, but suddenly stop, as 
everyone pretends to be asleep. Then each man taps his 
neighbour's shoulder to awake him, while the priest prays and 
scatters water with an almond branch over the people. This 
is repeated three times, and explained to signify the gift of 
the Holy Spirit, symbolised by water to the sleeping members 
of Christ's Church. 

Since in the Old Syrian Church baptism and confirmation 
are administered together, children communicate from quite 
an early age ; and it is very touching to see the women bring 
their little ones to share with them the Body and Blood of 

From each celebration a portion is reserved for the com- 
munion of the sick ; but if it is not used, it must be eaten 
by the priest ; for it is strictly forbidden to leave the con- 
secrated elements upon the altar from one day to another. 

A number of the small cakes of blessed bread, called the 
" antidoron,"t are generally taken to the Patriarch or Bishop 
at the monastery or church, and distributed by him to those 
who come to visit him after service. 

Of the dress worn during the services, the girdle is necessary 
for all who take any part within the sanctuary. In the daily 
servicea no other special garb is worn, except a stole by the 
priest who reads the Grospel, and the deacons who recite the 
psalms before the altar. 

During the celebration all the deacons and the choir wear 
white surplices, with gaily coloured stoles tied cross-wise 
before and behind. The celebrant wears a special alb with a 

* The ** Pain b6ni " of France, where the custom of blessingf bread to be 
distributed among the people still remains. This bread, like that consecrated in 
the Enoharist, is baked into small round cakes about two inches in diameter, 
covered with small crosses impressed on them by a wooden die. 

t Syriac " Burctho," = EvXoyia ; " AyrlHtapoy " is the Byzantine word for the 

342 The Syriaji Eucharist. 

coloured girdle, and over this a chasuble split down the front, 
and fastened at the neck by large silver buckles. Over the 
sleeves of his alb he wears long richly-embroidered gauntlets, 
and over his head he draws from time to time the top part of 
a veil that hangs over his })ack, like a kind of amice. He 
has on his head besides this only a skull-cap of the same sort 
as generally worn under the turband, but more richly em- 
broidered with white crosses on a black ground. Under the 
chasuble he wears an undivided stole, like a scapulary, and 
on his feet the yellow shoes always exchanged within the 
sanctuary for the usual black or red ones. The vesting is 
performed not before the great altar, but in the south sanc- 
tuary, where the preparations are made for the celebration. 

In the daily celebrations the Saints that are departed, 
especially those most honoured by the Old Syrians, such as 
Athanasius and Cyril, and their Patriarchs are commemorated, 
and prayer is likewise offered for the Patriarch. Before 
communion confession is recommended by the canons, but 
it is now almost obsolete, while it is doubtful if it ever implied 
more than a formal confession of sin and absolution. This is 
probable, for it is the custom where confession is made, for 
several to confess together at the steps of the altar.* It is 
said, too, that bathing was a necessary preliminary to con- 

Of baptism, marriage, and funeral customs among the 
Syrians there is little to relate, being the customs rather of 
Eastern Churches in general than the Old Syrian Church in 
particular. Baptism is forbidden in private houses, and 
for the ceremony it is necessary to have, in addition to 
water, the " sythe '^ or olive-oil, and the " moron '' or holy 
oil prepared by the Patriarch year by year, with which the 
" sythe 'Ms consecrated.t With ''moron'' the child is first 

* Asseman, in his acoount of the Syrian cuHtoms. laments the absence of clear 
teaching on confession. Biblioth. Orient, ii. intr.. from which it is dear that 
the practice was not very general in the twelfth centary of which he writes. 

t The preparation of the '* moron " is an important ceremony, and the dependence 
of various Chnrches, an in Ceylon and Malabar, for its supply upon the Patriarch, 
signifies their obedience to his supremacy. It is made chiefly of balsam. 

Syrian Baptism, 343 

signed with the sign of the cross upon the forehead, before 
being baptised. He is then anointed all over with the conse- 
crated olive oil, and dipped up to the neck in the water of the 
font, which has been also consecrated with '' moron." This 
is done three times in the name of the Father, the Son, and 
the Holy Ghost; after which the child is again clothed, and 
taken to the sanctuary for confirmation by the priest. 

The names given to children are in general Biblical — Peter, 
Paul, James, Nahum, Isaiah and such like ; but it is not 
unusual to find men and women with names of a more 
Mohammedan sound, Aziz, A bd-el -Rahman, Amin> Abd-el- 
Karim ; while others again have names of Christian origin 
formed on the Mohammedan system, such as Abd- el-Messiah, 
servant of Christ. Abdullah is, of course, a name common to 
both creeds. Women frequently have the Biblical names, nor 
is it rare to find such names as " Werdeh " (Rose), or "Luleh" 
(Pearl). One never hears, however, a Christian called by 
such a name as Omar or Mohammed, or in fact any name 
which directly implies Mohammedan faith ; Mohammedan 
names, when borne, being due generally to a loyal regard for 
Sultans and beneficent Pashas. Children in general receive 
the names of their grandparents rather than their parents, and 
for surnames call themselves "of the house of such an one,'' or 
the " son of such an one.'' Actual surnames are now more 
common, taken either from a common family name, or the 
district where the father lives. 

The marriage customs of the old Syrians are described 
elsewhere; it remains to add a few words on those of funerals. 
There are numerous services, differing in various ways, accord- 
ing as it is for the burial of a Patriarch, a Bishop, a Priest, a 
layman or a child ; and for all the service is of great length, 
and very impressive even to one who does not understand 
what is said. A death in a Syrian house is a terrible thing 
for a Western to witness. Even during the most extreme 
sickness, the room is never quiet ; for it is the bounden duty 
of relations and friends to crowd in, and standing about the 
bed, condole with or comfort the dying and bereaved. Many 
an illness is thus handed on from dying to living, and the last 

844 Funeral Customs. 

hours of many are hastened or disturbed by what seems to us 
unseemly intrusion. But it is their custom, and custom is the 
heaviest weight of all that lies upon the East, and its trans- 
gression is scarcely so easily pardoned as many a graver fault. 
But when life has actually departed, it is hard to describe the 
terrible outburst of grief from relaticms and friends, some of 
whom, perhaps, scarcely knew him who has gone, but under 
the influence of those who were nearer, break out into uncon- 
trollable lamentations, throwing themselves on the bed, and 
crying aloud on the dead and on God to restore him to the 

This grief, though excessive according to our ideas, is in- 
telligible ; not so the hiring of mourners, and the practice of 
placing women to weep for hours at the grave, lamenting 
their loss and recounting the good qualities of the dead. 

The scene in the church and churchyard is very impressive. 
Large crowds form in the procession behind the women 
mourners, who are veiled in black ; and chants are sung as the 
procession passes through the streets, and between the church 
and the grave. There are cemeteries round most churches, 
where the laity are buried ; only Bishops and very holy men 
being ever buried within the church walls, or in the mortuary 
chapels of the monasteries. At the grave prayers are said and 
the Gospels read, while drums and cymbals are beaten. After 
the body has been laid in the grave and the earth filled in, 
the clothes of the dead are placed on the top and the women 
sit down to mourn, beating their breasts, and wailing. Then 
the relatives gather at the head of the grave near to the 
priest, and all the rest pass by in order, kissing the hands of 
the latter, and touching those of the former, as they utter 
some words of comfort and peace ; and leave the courtyard 
for the house of the deceased, where they again mourn and 
take some food. 

On the third, the ninth, the thirtieth, and the fortieth day, 
there is a ceremony in memory of the departed ; and once a 
vear, on the dav on which he died, there is another service 
and celebration in the church. The mourning is renewed on 
each of these days, but has been curtailed by the present 

Fasts. 845 

Patriarch, who has strictly forbidden such excessive display 
of grief as was common, and limited the duration of these 
services. Finally a stone is laid upon the grave, generally a 
stone covering the whole grave, about three feet high, and 
ornamented with carving and inscriptions relating to the 
dead. Upright stones are very rare, that being the form 
used by the Moslems ; but sometimes a large tablet of stone 
will be placed in the wall within or without a church to 
commemorate a holy man, or a Bishop. Some of these stones 
and tablets are of very great beauty, and carved with very 
elegant designs. 

There are five fasts observed among the Syrians. The 
*' Great Fast " of Lent b,egins on the Monday forty-nine days 
before Easter, and must be strictly observed by all. The 
" Little Fast '' of Advent begins for strict observers on 
November 15, lasting forty days. The seculars of the 
Western, or Patriarchal province, we are told by Bar 
Hebraeus, fasted only for two weeks from December 10, 
while those of the Eastern province, that of the Mafrian, 
fasted from December 1. The fast of Nineveh is observed 
for three days from Monday in the third week before Lent. 
The Westerns used to fast five days. This fast commemorates 
the preaching of Jonah. The Fast of the Apostles lasts fifty 
days after Pentecost; the Easterns beginning on the first, 
and the Westerns on the second Monday after that Sunday. 
The Fast of the Virgin Mary is observed from August 1 to 15. 
All over twenty years of age are obliged to fast on Wednes- 
day and Friday, beginning at sunset on the previous day. 
On Saturdays the fast may be broken at midday, on 
other days at the ninth hour. On ordinary fast days, eggs, 
milk, and cheese, are entirely forbidden; during Lent not 
even oil may be touched ; from which it may be gathered that 
fasting among the Syrians is no light burden. 

IT. The Syrian people — or ^^ nation,'^ as they love to call 
themselves — that acknowledge the supremacy of the Patriarch, 
Ignatius Peter III., inhabit chiefly the tract of land known 
as Mesopotamia or " El Jazirah '' (the Island), between the 
rivers Tigris and Euphrates. In Syria proper there are some 

846 Distribution of the People, 

teu thousand Old Syrians iu the villages scattered about 
Horns and Damascus^ Saddud (Zedad)^ a well-known Biblical 
town^ containing about three thousand. In Aleppo almost all 
the Syrians have followed the example of so many Greeks 
and Armenians^ and joined the Roman Communion. A few 
have joined the Americans, while one man of influence 
remains loyal to his nation, and acts as agent to the Patriarch 
in that town. 

Passing eastward, Urfa, known better by its classical name 
of Edessa, is the first town where many Syrians are to be 
found. It is pleasant to find the ancient seat of a great 
University, and the home of St. Efrem and St. James of 
Nisibis, still containing a good number of members of the 
old Church, besides as many as four thousand houses of 
Armenians. North and east towards Kharput and Diarbekr 
are scattered many Syrian villages, while south-east their 
numbers increase in the mountains between Mardin and the 
Tigris known as Jebel Tur or Mens Masius, among which are 
many churches and monasteries, and probably as many as 
forty thousand Christian inhabitants. Round Mosul there are 
villages containing a good number, bringing up the whole to 
something between one hundred and fifty and two hundred 

The inaccuracy of the census, due partly to a desire on 
the part of all the Christians to lessen their numbers on 
account of the poll-tax levied on all males in lieu of milita.ry 
service, and partly to the extreme laxity on the part of the 
Government officials, makes it extremely difficult to obtain 
correct statistics. The number of inhabitants of a village 
can often be only ascertained in a secret way, or on the 
absolute assurance that no detrimental use will be made of 
the information. It may therefore be taken for granted 
that the actual population considerably exceeds the numbers 

The Syrians in the towns generally follow some trade, most 
frequently that of cloth merchants ; in the villages they are 
agriculturists. In general, their means are small. There are, 
of course, some rich, and a few liberal men. But apart from 

The Syrian Chruttians in India, 347 

the tendency to hoard and hide money in order to escape the 
exactions of oflScials, the Syrians are not an open-handed 
people. Moreover, the very large majority of them are 
exceedingly poor; and although in the open-air life of a warm 
country poverty does not pinch as it does in the north, yet 
the means of supporting even the simplest life, to say nothing 
of the higher needs of education and religion, are often 
wanting. The few men of means have to pay the taxes of 
their poorer brethren in addition to their own. For instance, 
in Diarbekr there are about six families of some means, and 
two hundred wretchedly poor, whose taxes the former have to 
pay; for taxes are collected not from each member of tlie 
community individually, but from the whole body together. 
In the country villages matters are far worse, and the taxes 
exacted with much cruelty and oppression. While the fiscal 
policy of the Porte weighs much more heavily on agriculture 
than on the trade of towns, the country people are much less 
able to defend their interests. 

An important part of those who acknowledge the Syrian 
Patriarch of Antioch is resident on the Malabar coast of 
India. Some three hundred thousand Syrians trace their 
origin to Syrians from the West, and their present sub- 
jection to Antioch demands a short account of the events 
which led them to exchange a Nescorian for a Jacobite 
supremacy. Eastern tradition is unanimous in assigning 
to the Syrian Church a very early origin, whether or not 
its foundation was actually due to S. Thomas the Apostle, 
Pantaenus of Alexandria (200 a.d.), or to Nestorian mission- 
aries of a later date from Persia. It is certain from the 
testimony of the Nestoriau Cosmas (522 a.d.), an Alexandrian 
merchant who sailed to India early in the sixth century, that 
there was in existence at that time, on the Malabar Coast, a 
Church headed by a Metropolitan appointed by the Catholicos 
of Persia. 

The Christians of Malabar are called Syrian, not so much 
because they are so by race, although two immigrations (745 a.d) , 
one of Christians from Baghdad Nineveh and Jerusalem 
under Thomas of Cana, and another from Persia (822 a.d.) 

348 The Syrian Christians in India. 

under two Nestoriau priests. Mar Sapnr and Mar Peruz, are 
recorded in the traditions of the Indian Church, but because 
their Christianity and their Bible were received from those 
to whom, as to all who at one time acknowledged the 
supremacy of Antioch, Syria c was the ecclesiastical, if not 
the national, language. For some years Malabar was under 
the rule of Christian Kings, known as the Perumals ; but on 
the death of Cheraman, the power j)assed into the hands of 
the neighbouring Rajah of Cochin, to whom, and to the 
Rajah of Travancore, the Syrian Christians have since been 

Early in the fourteenth century Jordanus, a Dominican 
missionary, \nsited India, and rejiorted Malabar to be a 
fruitful field for Roman enterprise; but it was two centuries 
before an active campaign was entered upon in India. The 
way was prepared by the Portuguese ; and in 1560 the 
Inquisition was established by the favour of John III. of 
Portugal in Goa, for two hundred and fifty years* the centre 
of tyranny and cruel persecution throughout the Eastern 
dominions of Portugal. 

The crisis of the dealings of the Romans with the 
Syrians (1599 a.d.) came Avhen Don Alexo Menezes, Arch- 
bishop of Goa, summoned the Synod of Diamper with a 
view to reforming the abuses of the Syrians, and inducing 
them " to return to the allegiance of Rome, from which for 
twelve hundred years they had fallen away." "The most 
cruel of the Synod's proceedings was the making the decree 
about the celibacy of the clergy retrospective. 
But what history will least willingly forgive this notorious 
Synod is its wanton destructicm of books. The liturgies 
were either destroyed or altered beyond recognition, and 
there is probably no entire copy now in existence which was 
used by the Syrians in Southern India before 1599.''t 
Menezes then made a tour among the Syrian Churches '' to 

• In 1812 the Inquisition was abolished by order of Dor Jos^, Prince R«gent 
at Bio Janeiro. 

t •' The Syrian Church in India," by 0. Milne Rae, p. 251. 

The Syrian Christians in India. 349 

secure peace by reconciling it with the Mother Church of 

In 1 663 the Dutch dealt the death blow to the Portuguese 
power in India by the capture of Cranganore and Cochin, 
and inaugurated an era of toleration for the Syrians. 
Ten years earlier a large number of the Syrians had risen 
against the Roman tyrants, and sworn at a huge assembly 
round the Coonen Cross near Cochin to rid themselves of the 
Portuguese usurpers. Of this meeting the immediate cause 
was the murder by the Romans of Theodore, a Bishop who 
had been sent from Babylon to rule over them. It was now 
necessary at all hazards to obtain a Bishop from one of the 
Eastern Patriarchs in the place of the priest Thomas whom they 
had elected from themselves to rule over them. Soon after the 
conquest of the Dutch, Gregorius, Bishop of Jerusalem, came 
from the Syrian Patriarch at Mardin (1 665 a.d.), and being re- 
ceived with unbounded joy, consecrated Thomas, and remained 
to rule jointly with him until his death in 1672. From this 
point the Syrians began to look to Antioch for the consecra- 
tion of their Metropolitans, in place of Babylon, the supremacy 
of whose Catholicos they had for so many years acknowledged. 
Nestorian Bishops did indeed continue to come to Malabar ; 
in 1700 Mar Sham'un came to the East to restore his 
authority, and five years later another Bishop, Mar Gabriel, 
came for the same purpose. But the majority of the Syrians 
adhered to Antioch, which they regarded with gratitude as 
the source of their deliverance from the Romans, and in 1751 
the Syrian Patriarch of Antioch sent at their request three 
Bishops to India. Up to the present day there has been a 
growing regard for Antioch ; but of the history of these 
years it is not proposed to say more here than will explain 
the relation of the present Patriarch to the Syrians of 

A recent trial in the Courts of Travancore decided that, 
whether or not each individual Metropolitan of the Malabar 
Syrians owed his consecration directly to the Patriarch at 
Mardin or his delegates, that Patriarch was regarded since 
the year 1665 as the legitimate head of the Syrian Church in 

350 The Syrian Christians in India, 

India.* In the beginning of the century, Engh'sh missionaries 
began a praiseworthy attempt to infuse life into the Malabar 
Christians. For some years their efforts were crowned with 
success, due partly to the excellence of their plan of work, 
partly to the influence, avowedly immense, exercised by the 
British Resident in the cause of progress. The distance of 
Mardin placed a diflSculty in the way of securing direct con- 
secration of the Metropolitan by the Patriarch. This was 
increased on the death of Thomas IX. in 1825, when the 
Resident caused one Philipj)us Malpan, elected by lot to 
succeed him, to be proclaimed by a Royal decree head of the 
Church. Complaints were sent to the Patriarch, who in 1827 
sent two men, Athanasius and Abraham, to take charge of the 
Church ; and ten years later the Syrians ended their brief 
connection with the English missionaries, after the emissaries 
from Mardin had been forcibly, and against the wish of the 
people, deported by the Government of Travancore. Con- 
tinual appeals were made between 1825 and 1842 to the 
Patriarch, who took advantage of the visit to Mardin of one 
Matthew to consecrate him Metropolitan of Malabar with the 
title of Athanasius. But information was sent to Mardin^ 
representing Matthew in so bad a light, that the Patriarch 
sent Bishop Mar Kuril los to make inquiries on the spot, with 
power to supersede Athanasius, if found guilty of heresy or 
misconduct. Kuril los had undoubted right, in virtue of the 
authority vested in him by the Patriarch, to supersede 
Athanasius as he then did, whether or not the charges against 
him of making false representations at Mardin were proved. 
In 1865, the Patriarch consecrated another Metropolitan, 
called Dionysius Joseph, in place of Athanasius, whom he had 
excommunicated in 1846. Athanasius, however, did not 
acquiesce in this arrangement, and led a violent opposition to 
Dionytiius. Dionysius appealed to the Government of Madras, 
which, avowing to him its policy of strict neutrality in 

* The Bappoaition that the apostolic saccesston of the S>Tian Patriarch is 
nail, and that, even were this not so, his authority in India is usurped (two of 
the merest suppositions, it may be added), vitiates the conclusions of the writer 
of the above quoted book to a deplorable degree. 


The Syrian Christians in India. 351 

accordance with the rule of the Honourable Court of Directors 
in London, at the same time handed over all the money lying 
in the Resident's treasury to Athanasius Matthew, who, 
although excommunicated by the Patriarch in 1846, was 
supported by the very men, who, many years before, had 
dismissed him from their college as unfit for the ministry, and 
had been proclaimed Metropolitan by the Grovernment 
in 1852. 

Matters came to a head when in 1874 the Patriarch 
Peter III. came to England by invitation of the late Arch- 
bishop Tait of Canterbury, and having been honourably 
received by the Queen and the authorities at the Indii Office, 
sailed to India again on their urgent advice to settle the 
dispute between Athanasius and Dionysius Joseph, whom the 
previous Patriarch James had consecrated in 1865 at Mardin. 
The withdrawal of the royal proclamation made in favour of 
Athanasius in 1852, proved that the Government thought it 
to have been illegally made, and the law of strict neutrality 

In 1877 Athanasius Matthew died, and was succeeded by 
Athanasius Thomas, whom he had been careful to conseci*ate 
as far back as 1868. With this man as defendant, Dionysius 
Joseph, in accordance with the advice given to the Patriarch 
in England, entered upon a suit for the recovery of Church 
property, in which after ten weary years of litigation he 
obtained a favourable award, and secured the legal acknow- 
ledgement of the Syrian Patriarch of Antioch as supreme head 
of the Church in Malabar since the year 1665, and of himself 
as lawful Metropolitan of Malabar.* The Patriarch returned 
to Mardin in 1876, having held a meeting of the Syrians to 

* I have dealt with the whole question of this qnarrel with as little detail as 
possible ; but in justice to the Patriarch, of whom the author of the above quoted 
book speaks in a tone of extreme dislike, I have thought it necessary to sketch 
an outline of the events from another point of view. I will only call attention 
to three facts : (1), The royal proclamation as to Athanasius was in itself illegal ; 
(2), He was already excommunicated by his own acknowledged superior : (3), The 
Patriarch was invited to Ehigland to treat of matters entirely different from 
those in India, whither he went, not by his own wish, but on strong advice given 
him in England. 

352 The Theological Beliefs of the Old Syrians. 

detennine the organisation of the churches, and their relation 
to himself. His visit had succeeded in all respects, and it is 
much to be regretted that good men, and zealous for the 
welfare of this Church in India, were not enabled to- see the 
justice of his position. Kven were all the personal charges 
made against the Patriarch true, the strength of his position 
as the Syrian Patriarch of Antioch and, therefore, the head of 
the Syrian Church in India, would be in no way weakened. 
The Patriarch rules over some three thousand people in India ; 
but the number of his adherents seems to be growing both 
there and in Ceylon, where, not long since, a large number of 
Roman Catholics left their adopted communion to join with 
the Syrians of Malabar from whom they had separated. 

III. The Church of the Old Syrians has from early times 
based its belief in regard to the Person of Christ on the doctrine 
laid down by Cyril of Alexandria. At the same time it has 
been forward in anathematizing the doctrine of Eutyches, 
who, thinking that he emphasized that of Cyril, in reality 
erred as far on one side of the truth as Nestorius did on the 
other. Having already given an account of his teaching, it 
is necessary, before saying anything as to the present belief 
of the Old Syrians, to give a short account of the doctrine 
taught by the books of their doctors. 

Even before the time of Eutyches, language had been used 
by other fathers than Cyril, which they would have repudiated, 
had the doctrine of the nature and person of Christ been 
more clearly defined.* 

1. Philoxenus, Bishop of Hierapolis, and the friend of 
Se\''erus, the Patriarch of Antioch, is regarded by the Old 
Syrian writers as expressing their belief as to the Incarna- 
tion. He taught one nature constituted out of two, divine 
and human, but without fusion of the two, or conversion or 
absorption of one into the other; and it was Christ in this 
unified, complex nature that lived and died for us, althqjigh 

* E.g., Gregory's zeal to iimist on the unity of Christ led him to use langruage 
which at a later time wan condemned as unorthodox. Cp. Article of Monophy- 
nites in Diet, of Bibl. Biog. iv. 308. 


Ths Theological Beliefs of the Old Syrians. 353 

the divine nature did not suffer, nor were His human nature 
and His death merely visionary, as the followers of Julian of 
Halicarnassus asserted. 

2 . The teaching of Severus was not dissimilar, although he 
agreed more nearly with Cyril. '^ We discern mentally two 
natures in the Christ, the one created, the other uncreate; 
but the Synod of Chalcedon having defined two natures in 
the case of Christ, and two activities of them after the 
ineffable union . . . divided Christ into two persons, for 
an impersonal nature is never active.'' fcro the whole com- 
pound nature shares all His actions ; " but so far as He was 
God, the Emmanuel suffered only in seeming." In harmony 
with this doctrine Peter the Fuller had previously inserted 
the additional words into the " Trisagion," as has been already 

3. Now it will be clearly seen that this attempt to deny the 
confusion of natures which yet become one nature is impos- 
sible ; and that between the orthodox view which maintains 
two natures in one person, and the Eutychian or Julianist 
view which admits the absorption or fusion of the human into 
the divine nature, there can be no middle way. " One nature 
consisting of two natures, but not in two natures," is a contra- 
diction in terms ; while that the doctrine has been maintained 
by so many teachers in the Old Syrian Church can only be 
due, as Asseman says, to a confusion between the meaning of 
the words " nature " and " person." This confusion is made 
in a letter written by Theodosius, Patriarch in 853 a.d , who 
speaks of ^' one person from two persons, one nature from two 
natures ; " and in 969 a.d. John, Patriarch, insists on " one 
nature composed of two," without trying to explain how that 
could be, in a discussion with Polyeuctus, Patriarch of 

4. This confusion between nature and person lies at the 
root of whatever misunderstanding may at the present time 
exist in the mind of the Old Syrians in regard to the doctrine; 
and it may be reasonably believed that, were an attempt made 
by a party against whom the Syrians would not be prejudiced 
by national or political feelings, the difference based mainly 

A A 

354 The Theological Beliefs of the Old Syrians. 

on adherence to a party badge and the wrong verbal expres- 
sion of a right belief would be removed. I have purposely 
8aid nothing here about the political elements which had so 
large a share in causing the separation of the Old Syrians 
from the Catholic Church, as they have been amply dwelt on 
elsewhere ; but I will enumerate a few reasons why the hope 
above expressed is not a vain one : — (a) The confusion 
between person and nature cannot but be recognised and 
avoided, if duly and charitably explained to the Old Syrians. 
[h) The meaning of the word nature to the Syrians includes 
far more than it does in English, being most strictly translated 
*^ essential being.'' (c) The Old Syrians are perfectly ready 
to accept the orthodox doctrine, if the technical language be 
avoided.* Unorthodox technical language is used both by 
themselves now and in their books, and the mental constitu- 
tion which they share with other Orientals makes it often 
impossible to obtain an accurate definition of their thoughts ; 
while seeing that their maintenance of the doctrine of the 
one nature is largely bound up with a misunderstanding of 
the actual meaning of that word in the plain Greek " ^vo-ts,'* 
and that, in spite of the language in which the doctrine has 
been clothed by many of them, they do actually hold the 
orthodox doctrine, there is no reason to suppose that in time 
the Old Syrians may not be induced to accept the wording 
confirmed by the Catholic Church as expressing the faith 
which the Old Syrians agree with her in actually holding. 

I will complete this section with a quotation from a book 
to which I am indebted in much that I have written, " The 
Catholicos of the East." '' It may be remarked that the 
subject should not be approached, as has too often been the 
case, with a desire to pick holes in every loose statement, but 
in a spirit of charity which compares one thing with another, 

* The Patriarch, no less than a Bishop who visited Ehigland in 1888, in spite of 
long and freqnent examination from good theologians and Oriental scholars, such 
as Dr. Liddon, Dr. Badger, Dr. Irons, gave absolutely no grounds for the suppo- 
sition that they held anything but the orthodox view. These learned men 
absolutely acquitted the Old Syrian Church, so far as they were able to judge it, 
of actual heresy. 

The Theological Beliefs of the Old Syrians. 355 

and where necessary presumes the better and not the worse 
interpretation of ambiguous language." 

The Old Syrians hold in regard to the "Procession of the 
Holy Ghost'' a position half way between those of the Greeks 
and Romans, that " He proceeds from the Father and receives 
from the Son." Some of their writers have even acknowledged 
His procession from the Son ; while none of them have shared 
the strong feeling of the Greek Church against the Western 

In the Eucharist they assert not the identity of the Sacred 
Elements with the Body and Blood of Christ, but only a 
hypostatic union of the Word with the Bread and Wine. 

Compulsory confession is and always has been repudiated 
by them and their writers, although Dionysius Bar Salib late 
in the twelfth century pleaded for its introduction. In regard 
to the dead they hold that they await in Paradise or Hell the 
common resurrection, and in no sense accept the doctrine of 
purgatory, as set forth by the Church of Rome.* 

• John of Dara: "De Eesurr. Corp.," 4. 20. Bar Hebraeua: "Lib. 
fiadiorom," 7. 5. 2. 

A A 2 


The Yazidis op Mosul. 

The manuscript from which the following translation is made was 
written by a native of Mosul, who has enjoyed peculiar opportunities 
for obtaining information concerning the Yazidis. His chief sources 
were (1), The " Kitab-el- Aswad " (The Black Book), a manuscript 
dating from the tenth century, and containing indications of 
Mohammedan influence and censorship ; for instance the word 
"Sheitan" is systematically erased, hence its name; (2), " Kitab- 
el-Jilwa" (The Book of [Divine] Effulgence), ascribed to Sheikh 
A*di himself, dating from the twelfth century ; (3), A history of 
Mosul, written about a hundred years ago ; (4), The statements of 
an Old Syrian priest, for thirty years resident among the Yazidis. 
Unfortunately the writer did not specify whence each particular part 
of his information was obtained. 

A short summary of the history of the Yazidis may conduce to a 
better understanding of the manuscript itself. Several writers have 
left accoimts of this most interesting people, and have borne unani- 
mous witness to their bravery and hospitality. I can only sketch 
by their help a few of the more salient features of their life and creed.* 

* The following is a list of books treating of the Tazidia. (1), Layard's 
" Nineveh and its Remains," and " Nineveh and Babylon,'* 1853 ; (2), Badger's 
** Nestorians and their Bitnals," 1852; (3), Ainsirorth : ^'Transactions of the 
Ethnographical Society,*' vol. i., 1861 ; (4), 6acldngham*a " Travels in Mesopo- 
tamia," 1827 ; (5), Baillie Eraser's ** Mesopotamia and Assyria'' ; (6), Niebuhr's 
"Turkish Travels"; (7), Rich's "Kurdistan" ; (8), Forbes' "Account of tha 
Yazidis of Jebel Sinjar," in the " Transactions of B. G. S.." vol. ix. ; (9), Haxthau- 
sen's " Transcaucasia," containing an account of the Yazidis in Bussian territory ; 
(10), Several Papers by M. Siouffi, French Consul at Mosul, in the "Journal 
Asiatique," series 7, vol. xv., p. 78 ; (11), Menant's " Les Yezidis," published 
in the popular series of the Mus^e Guimet. 

To (1), (2), (10), I am most indebted, as the writers witnessed what they desoribo. 

358 History of the Yazidis, 

(I.) The Yazidis are divided into five tribes, according to 
districts, namely, those of Russia, Khalatiyah, Alei)ix), the Sinjar 
hiUs, and Sheikhan. Khalativah includes all the district north and 
north-east of the Tij^rris ; Alei)i)o all west of the Euphrates. The 
head-quarters of the people are in Sheikhan, the district to the 
north-east of Mosul, where their chief resides, and the annual 
festival is celebrated at the shrine of Sheikh A'di. The Yazidis of 
this district were ancientlv called *' Da'aseni," a name of which thev 
can give no account, although it mav be recognised as the same as 
that of the old ei>isco|)al diocese. A Kurdish tril)e of this name is 
mentioned by Layard as living near Sulimaniyah. 

The recent history of the Yazidis has l>een one of i>er8ecution. 
Fifty years ago the prosi)erity of the Yazidis of Sheikhan aroused 
the cui)idity of the brutal Pasha of Mosul, Inji Beirakdar. In 
1844, they suffered cruelly at the hands of the famous Kurdish Beg 
of Ruwanduz, when the mounds of Nineveh opposite Mosul gained 
the name of '* Kuyimjik " (The Slaughter of the Sheep), from the 
horrible massacre which he there inflicted on them. Mohammed 
Bashid Pasha, and Hafiz Pasha of Mosul, did their best to exter- 
minate these hated " People without the Book," while Paslias of 
Mosul iK^gan generally to look upon an annual himt of Yazidis as a 
legitimate recreation, and a cheap means of recruiting their revenue. 
Nor did Bedr-khan-lx?g. the notorious author of the Nestorian 
atrocities, find them a less fruitful source of plunder. It was little 
to be wondered at that the Yazidis then captured and tortured or 
murdered every Moslem who fell into their hands, just as they did 
after the brutal onslaught of 1892. 

Various attempts have been made by the Turkish Government to 
subject the Yazidis to the military service required from all 
Mohammedans. The double injustice of forcing them to perform 
a service required by law only from Mohammedans, and to imder- 
take the i>erformance of several actions rei)Ugnant to their religion, 
caused Lord Stratford in 1847 to obtain in Constantinople a proi>er 
recognition of their religion, and exemption from military service. 
In the face of this the *' conversion *' alreadv descriWd was 
undertaken bv order of the Government; while the fact that 
the recognition was obtained by our Ambassador should stir 
up some sympathy in England for the fate of this ill-treated 

(II.) The Yazidis hold that the God who created all things and 
permeates all things, created seven spirits by a kind of emanation, 

The Beliefs of the Yazidis, 359 

** as a man lighteth one lamp from another," each of which is to 
reign ten thousand years. Of these Malak Ta'us (Angel Peacock) is 
the first, and the present ruler of this world, having fulfilled already 
six thousand years of his reign. In some way these seven spirits 
seem to be connected with the heavenlv bodies. The sun and moon 
have a large place in the religious system of the Yazidis, as appears 
from the importance of the shrine of Shams-ed-din, the sacrifice of 
white bulls, the adoration of the sun and moon at their rising and 
setting, and the burial of the dead towards the rising sim, or 
{perhaps the North-pole. Sheikh Shams-ed-din is the name of one 
of the spirits, Azazil ; and these spirits are also the creators of the 
heavenly bodies. While sheep are commonly sacrificed among the 
Yazidis over the graves of distinguished men, and the blood of 
sheep is used by the chief Sheikh and the Pirs in the exercise of 
their supernatural powers of healing, and the dung of the same 
animals laid on the graves of the dead, the sacrifice of white oxen 
seems connected exclusively with the ceremonies at the shrine of 
Sheikh Shams-ed-din.* It is said that Yazidis will never spit into 
the fire, although this may be from reverence not so much for the 
fire as for the place where it is kindled. 

The number seven holds a no less prominent place in the Yazidi 
religion than in the Chaldsean, Hebrew, and Sabsean systems. The 
seven altars of Balaam, the seven offerings made to ratify a 
covenant, the seven lamps of the golden candlestick in the temple, 
the seven angels and their seven trumi^ts, readily suggest them- 
selves in writings of the Old Testament. f Among the Chaldseans 
we read of the seven stages of the Babylonian temples, dedicated to 
the seven planets, and coloiu-ed in accordance with the rules of 
Sabsean astrology ; and the Birs-Nimrud, near Babylon, has seven 
stages. So, too, Ecbatana had seven walls, and the temple built by 
Behram Giu* was seven-bodied, as is related by Nizami in the poem 
of Haft Peiker. In the Koran (Sura 23), generally free from 
Sabsean influence, the seven heavens are siK)ken of, in reference 

* ^'DerTempel des Sheikha Shams ist ohne alien Zweifel ein Sonnen-Tempel, 
der BO gebaut int, dass die eraten Strahlen der Sonne so haiifig als mofj^lich aaf 
ihn fallen." Chwolson : " Die Ssabien," xi. 296. Southgate visited in 1837 a 
tribe called Shamsiyah in the hills near Mardin. They called themselves " Sons 
of Ishmael," doubtless to evade the suspicion of the Mohammedans. I conld 
neither hear nor see anything of these people. 

t See NumberH xxiii., 2 Chr. xxix. 21, Tobit xii. 15 ; and cp. Rev. vii. 2, i. 4, 
iv. 5. 

860 Malik Ta'ua. 

either to the paths of the seven planets, or to the seven storeys into 
which Moslems Iwlieve heaven to be divided. 

The honour {»aid to Malik Ta'us, or Azaziel (which appears also 
as a name of Satan in the Bible), the first created of the seven 
Spirits, and the present vi<.-e^erent of the Abnighty, is the most 
prominent feature of the Yazidi creed. Propitiation enters largely 
into his worship, as amou^ the Sabteans and Magians. He is the 
author of all those things called by the professors of other relijjions 
evil, just as God (*' Khuda '* in Persian) is the author of all jj^ood ; 
but the Yazidis avoid all reference to such words as imply or call to 
mind his evil natmv. It is possible to trace here the princii)le, 
according to which evil has no i)ositive existence, but only the 
negative quality necessary to the reality of good, a princii>le 
common to Plato, the Sabaeans. and the modem Sufis of Persia. 

The *• Sanjaks " (banners), or symbols which represent Malak 
Ta'us and the other spirits, have Kvn amply descril)ed, with the 
ceremonies connected with them, by Layard and Badger. Tlie 
Yazidis deny that any reverence is j>aid to them except as to the 
symbol of their chief, bv means of which he collects his dues. 
Nevertheless, they kiss devoutly the cloth that covers them, and take 
the utmost rare to prevent them falling into the hands of the 
Moslems. During the recent jxTsecutions the Moslems boasted to 
have gained ix)sses8ion of several, but they were found to Im? copies 
made to deceive them, while the real images were safely buried. 

Both Layard and Badger draw attention to the " lynges.*' or 
golden images of birds in the jwiliuv of the king of Babylon, said 
to l)e i>owers animated by God, and used in consequence for divina- 
tion. It may l>e i»nly a coincidence that the Yazidi legend relates 
how God at the Creation j>la<*ed the i>earl mentioned in the text on 
the back of a bird called ** Anghar " or •• Anghas." But at least 
the impersonation of Azazil by a bird, and the similarity Iwtw.^en 
the sanjaks and the lynges, are remarkable. Nor is it impossible 
that these sanjaks art* used for the ^livination which the Amir of 
the Yazidi practises. Lastly, we may notice the ** Feroulier " of 
the Zonmstrian system, and the fatrt that among the Parsis the 
attendant of the evil si)irit is called Izid Ferfer.* 

In addition to the rather confused account* given in the text of 
Sheikli A*di himself, it is necessary ]>erhaps only to add that the 
tenth century saw the final success of the attempts made since the 

• Ainsworth, 41. Badger, i. 127. Cp. Dent. iv. 16, 17. 


Sheikh A'di 361 

seventh century to crush Magism. The Mohammedan religion is 
entirely alien from the mystical teaching of the Magians ; nor is it 
impossible that the Yazidis may have taken advantage of the 
similarity between their own name and that of several of the 
Omayyad Khalifs to screen themselves from the destruction which 
orthodox Moslems meted out to followers of Magian and kindred 
creeds. It is unlikely that the Yazidis, whose sympathies would be 
with the less orthodox Shiites rather than the Sunnis, had any real 
connection with the Ommayad house, ever cursed by true Shiites as 
the murderers of the sainted Hosein and Hasan. Yet even so the 
name would be a better protection for a semi-Magian sect, which 
chose to borrow from eminent Sufis names more congenial with 
which to disguise their saints. If, as they themselves assert, they 
are called Yazidis because they are the worshippers of Yazdan (the 
Persian name of God), they may have gladly welcomed the similarity 
to the name of an enemy in order to secure a more effectual disguise. 
There seems no particular reason to doubt that Sheikh A'di was 
an actual person, who lived at the date specified, which suits well 
with what we know of the history of Magism in the tenth century ; 
while his alleged migration from the West is in harmony with the 
fact that Haran was a great centre for such worship, and that the 
neighbourhood of Aleppo is still inhabited by many who profess a 
similar creed.* 

(III.) Seven orders of priests are enumerated among the Yazidis. 
Of these two seem merged in the remaining five, to wit the 
*' Kuchak," whose office seems identical with that of the Amir, and 
the *' Mulla," who has no duties assigned to him, except those of 
teacher, which are held also by the '* Qawwals," and of " keeper of 
the affairs of the nation," a fine but vague Oriental hyperbole. 

The Amir, religious and political head of the people, called also 
the Khalifa, holds his ofiice by inheritance, the most worthy and 
not necessarily the eldest son succeeding his father. He should be 
leader in prayer ** Pish-namaz " ; but as this duty involves the 
wearing of a peculiar dress, which, owing to the frequent inter- 
course between the Amir and the Turkish authority, might so fall 

* With the story told of Yazid's birth in the text it is interesting to compare 
t!ie Sabfban legend, according to which Mande-dc-hajje, the good principle, 
cansed Inochwei, the a^d wife of Saona, to drink water, and conceiye a child of 
promise, whose name was Yahya. Cp. " A Pamphlet on the Sabseans." by 
M. Siouffi. 

362 Tlie Priestly Orders. 

into the hands of the enemy, one of the most reverend Sheikhs 
officiates for him. The Amir enjoys with the chief Sheikh the 
highest priestly prerogatives, which include a power of excommunica- 
tion as severe as has ever been exercised among Christians. He has 
I>owers of prophecy, and alone of the Yazidis may marry in the 
month of April. He is the official public intercessor for the 
jjeople, from whom he receives tithes each year. 

The Sheikhs as a priestly order must be carefully distinguished 
from the so-called Sheikhs by whose names the seven great spirits 
are called. As servants of Sheikh A'di they guard his tomb, keep 
the holy fire, and provide for those who dwell within the precincts 
and for pilgrims of distinction, taking charge of all offerings made, 
and selling the clay balls and other relics from the shrine. They 
are the only class among the Yazidis with any claim to learning, 
being acquainted with Arabic, the language in which the sacred 
hymns are written. The chief Sheikh of the district of Sheikhan 
has a primacy above the others. Imng a kind of national high 
priest, and wearing as insignia a white turband and a girdle of 
small copper rings, in which he carries a small axe. He is believed 
to have supernatural powers of [)rophecy and of curing epilepsy 
and making the barren fruitful, in which offices he uses as charms 
the blood of sheep and sacred clay from the shrine of Sheikh A'di. 
During the minority of the Amir he acts as his representative. He 
is bound, according to the rule that holds for all classes of the 
Yazidis, to marrv one of his own order. 

The " Qawwals " belong all to one family, and are under the 
direct control of the Amir, whose tithes they collect, and for whom 
they generally act as emissaries. They dwell almost exclusively in 
the villages of Bah-shika and Bahizani. They are the musicians 
at the yearly festivals, playing, dancing, and chanting at every 
ceremony, and conduct the fimerals of the Yazidis, playing and 
lK)uring water into the mouth of the dead. 

The " Pirs " do not, according to Ainswoi'th, form a separate 
order or have any special duties, but are men canonised during 
life on account of peculiar holiness. The word signifies in 
Persian an old man. and is thus identical with ** Sheikh." 
They are said to have special powers of healing and interceding 
for others. 

To the " Faqirs " belong the various menial duties connected 
with the Yazidi shrines, such as trimming the votive lamps and 
keeping clean the sacred precincts. They dance during the 

Religious Practices, 366 

ceremonies, and teach dancing to the children. Their dress is 
a black or dark-brown tunic of coarse cloth reaching to the 
knee, and tight-fitting, with a black turband bound by a red 
handkerchief, from which thej have the name " Karabash,'' or 

(IV.) Prayer and fasting are but little accounted of by the 
Yazidis. The Qawwals are the professional offerers of prayer for 
the people who do not understand them. One member of a family 
may fast for the rest, on the same principle, no doubt, as that on 
which some Bedawin tribes on reaching a town, send one of their 
number to a mosque to pray for them all. It is probable that they 
do not like to neglect a custom so prevalent among their neighbours, 
but that their own tendency is to condemn fasting, as Zoroaster did, 
as the impious refusal of G-od's good gifts. 

Circumcision is usual among the Yazidis, being performed with 
baptism about seven days after birth ; if [x)ssible, at Sheikh A'di in 
the water of the sacred spring ; if not, the ceremony is jx^stponed 
imtil the arrival of a Qawwal with a skin of the holy water. But 
circumcision is not obligatory, nor in the Sin jar and the Armenian 
district even customary. Baptism seems to be far more intimately 
connected with Yazidi belief. The practice recalls immediately the 
strange sect of so-called ** Christians of S. John," still to be 
found in some numbers between Baghdad and Basra, to whose 
ancestors there may be a reference in the dwellers near Ephesus 
** who knew only the baptism of John." The great number of 
springs held sacred by the Yazidis in the district of Sheikhan, the 
practice of throwing money into some of them, which has attracted 
the cupidity of several Pashas of Baghdad and Mosul, the festivals 
connected with some of these springs, notably that called Ain Safna 
near Bahizani. the customs of lighting lamps at them, or in some 
adjacent niche or cave, all point to a i^culiar reverence for the 
element of water. No Yazidi will ever enter a Mohammedan bath, 
or eat any produce of the water, fish being considered " mubarak," 
sacred. Connected with this regard is the story told in the text of 
the Sufi-saint Mansur-el-Hallaj. It has often been remarked that a 
sjjecial origin need not be sought for ceremonial lustrations in a hot 
country ; it is therefore impossible to argue from their prevalence 
among the Yazidis to any consequent connection with Mohammedan 
or Christian traditions. Baptism is rejjeated at each visit to the 
shrine, all new garments l)eing at the same time baptized. The 
*' Sanjaks " of the seven spirits must also he baptized once a year 

364 Influence of Chrtstlamty. 

in " sumaq " water at Sheikh A'di.* The sacred water at Sheikh 
A'di, within the shrine, is l)elieve<i to have l)een brought from Mecca 
by Sheikh A*di, and is consequently called ** Zamzam/* f 

The Yazidis, like many Moslems, consider the sign of the cross to 
be a valuable charm. Christ, they say, was a great angel, who took 
the form of man ; he did not die u^ion the cross, but ascended to 
heaven to appear again with Imam Mahdi. For the Bible they have 
some regard, but consider it to have l)een corrupted by false 
teachers. The Russians hold Christ to l)e the Son of God and of 
Mary, but not to be divine ; but the confession of *• Malik Esa," 
Esa son of Mary, is less defined among them than among the 
Moslems. There is a strange tradition among the Yazidis with 
n»gard to the Crucifixion. '* Wlien Christ was on the Cross, in the 
absence of his friends. Satan came in the ft)rm of a darweish and 
carried him to heaven. The Marys soon came, and seeing the 
Lord not there, inquired of the darweish where He was. They 
would not Ixjlieve his answer, but promised to do so if he would 
take the pieces of a cooked chicken and bring the bird to life. He 
consented to the proposal, and bringing back bone to bone, the 

* Amon^ the HemerobaptiBts, a Jewish sect near Ephesus in the first century, 
S. John Baptist was held as the chief prophet in place of Messiah, and baptdsm 
was held to be the gpreat ordinance of religion, '* a daily-recurring atonement for 
sin and sanctifioation of the person," Lightfoot, Colossians, p. 402. Norberg 
quotes the " Recital of Conti the Marouite/' 1650, that a Johannine sect had 
migrated from Galilee to Mergab in the Lebanon about 1500, and holding S. John 
Baptist as their founder, used locusts and wild honey as their sacrament, while 
their priests wore turbands and garments of camel hair. Their four annual fasts 
commemorated the birthday of S. John, the institution of baptism, the lamenta- 
tion for the death of S. John, the slaying of the dragon by S. John. These customs 
do not exist among the Mendseans or the inhabitants of the Hauran. 

Mohammed-ibn-Ishac (987 a.d.) speaks of the Sabians as '' El Mogbtasilah/* 
those who purify themselves by washing, while Chwolson (xxii. 17) derives 
'• Sabian *' from a Hebrew root ** to dip."' 

Origen speaks of Elchasai, the name by which the Hemerobaptists were known, 
as a man who repudiated asceticism nnd sacrifice, recommending baptism as a 
purification from sin, and delivering his revelations to one Sobai. This Elchasai 
or *HA|ou (i.e., Svyofiis KtKaXvfififyrj), was connected with the Ebionites and 
Sampseni, and held Gnostic views in regard to our Lord's Incarnation. Op. Hip- 
polytus, adv. hsereses, ix. 8, 15. Epiphanius. adv. hsereses, xix. 1. 

t The '* Hukama," or rationalists of El Islam, who invariably connect the rites 
of their faith with the worship of the heavenly bodies in general and of Venus in 
p irticular, derive Zamzam from the Persian, and make it signify '' The Great 
Luminary.*' Burton, " Pilgrimage to Medinah," ii. 162. 

Marriage Customs, 305 

cock crew. The darweish then announced his real character ; they 
expressed their astonishment by a burst of adoration. Having in- 
formed them that he would henceforth always ap{)ear to his beloved 
in the shape of a beautiful bird, he dejiarted.*** 

At a marriage the bride is bidden by the Yazidi law to visit a 
Christian church, if there be one on the way, and the " Shuqus."t 
So Ainsworth relates that " when Yazidis come to Mardin, or any 
other town, they kiss the hands of the priests, and receive the 
Sacrament from them, suffering not a drop of wine to fall to the 
ground, or even on their beards." By others they are asserted to 
observe Easter. 

Tlie use of certain words is strictly prohibited by the Yazidis. 
Reverence for Malak Ta'us forbids all reference to his evil nature, 
and to words of similar sound, such as " keitan " a thread, " shat ** 
an arrow. ** sharushat," all derivatives of the root " la*n " 
(curse), and even *' na'l " (horse shoe), " na*l-band " (farrier), 
which contain the same letters. These all approximate in sound 
to '* Sheitan " ; nor can anything shock a Yazidi more than the 
utterance of the Tartar curse " Na'alat-es-Sheitannak." Layard 
gives an amusing description of the consternation he caused by 
uttering half the word ** sheitan " (applied commonly to a clever 
fellow or rascal) during a Yazidi feast. It is as if we avoided the 
word evil because of its similarity to devil. 

Tlie marriage rites of the Yazidis are very simple, and include 
clay from the tomb of Sheikh A*di, a loaf of bread, a small stone, 
and a visit to a church. The Amir, or the chief Sheikh, probably 
as his proxy, sometimes marries persons of rank, but ordinary 
l^eople are satisfied with the Qawwal, who ascertains mutual 
consent, breaks bread between them, and gives them of the sacred 
day. Intermarriage of the several orders is forbidden, and the 
nimiber of wives limited, except for the Amir, to six ; divorce being 
moreover as easy amongst them as amongst the Moslems. Mo- 
nogamy is, however, the rule, doubtless on the score of economy, 
although the Amir has generally a large number of wives. The 
(;hief Sheikh is apj^arently condemned to celibacy. After marriage 
the bride remains in her husband's house, but does not see him for 
three days. When they meet bread is again broken over her 
head, and the bridegroom strikes her with a small stone in token 

* Quoted by Ainsworth from Mr' Lobdel, an American Missionary, 1852. 
f Perhaps the keeper of the *' Shaqs,'* or shrine. 

366 Marriage Cusfom^f. 

of the marital prerogative. Dancing, man and woman together, 
is usual among the Yazidis, a strange custom in the East, when.' 
" promiscuous whirlings " are looked upon with as much horror 
as by the pious Scot. They form jmrt of the ceremonies at Sheikh 

The bride is looked ujx)n as a property for purchase ; and Layard 
describes the desperate state of the Qawwals at the time of his 
visit, because they could not afford the price demanded. Some 
travellers have maintained the charge made by the Moslems that 
the Yazidis practice vile rites in connection with the ceremonies at 
Sheikh A'di. It is a charge commonly made against the professors 
of a secret creed ; but lx)th Badger and Layard. who were eye- 
witnesses of the ceremonies, acquit the Yazidis of all of the 
charges made. The Yazidi law is plain, forbidding marriage 
during the month of the feast and on Wednesdays and Fridays, 
as well as within the sacred precincts of Sheikh A'di. 

The fimeral are as simple as the marriage rites. Water and 
sat^red clay placed in the mouth of the dead, and clay upon his face, 
bathing the body in running water, and burying it to face the 
North Star, complete the ceremonies. The Qawwals lead the pro- 
cession burning incense, and the relatives, male and female, continue 
to do the same for some days after the funeral. It appears from 
the custom of the Kuchak tt) prophesy of the dead, whether he 
shall return to earth or go to another world, that the transmigra- 
tion of souls is held no less than the j)ermeation of all things by 
God, two doctrines common to the Sabseans also. The Yazidis hold 
that none will be eternally rondenmed, but all will spend an 
expiatory period in hell ; while the dead have communion with the 
living, by which the good souls dwelling in the sky make revelations 
to their brethren upon earth. 

The Yazidi year l>egins on the first Wednesday in April, called 
** Sar-Sali," and is kept as an annual feast, l)eing the day on which 
God determines the course of events for the year. Feasts of the 
various Sheikhs are kept throughout the year, that of Sheikh A*di. 
the chief of all, in Octol)er. Wednesday and Friday are always 
kept holy, the Qawwals assembling at simset on the previous days 
to bum incense and watch at the shrines. Layard has given two 
descriptions of the festival held at Sheikh A'di in 1846 and 1849; 
a third, of the festival of Sheikh Mohammed at Bahshikah, comes 
from the diary of Mrs. Badger. Preparation is made on the first 
day of the year for coming feasts of the various Sheikhs ; shet^p 

Translation nf Arabic History of Yezidis. 367 

are slain, flowers — especially scarlet anemones * — are placed on the 
courtyard gate, while the Amir receives the pilgrims, already 
purified by bathing in the sacred springs. All feed without cost at 
the feasts. For the details of the feasts the reader may be referred 
to the ample accoimts of Layard and Badger. 

Such are, in short, the main features of the Yazidi creed. At 
present, their origin and the history of their beliefs are shrouded in 
mystery, awaiting the arrival of one who can bring a deep know- 
ledge of Eastern mystic creeds, and a profound sympathy with a 
much suffering people, to the task of unravelling the thread that 
binds the Yazidis to the peoples of pre-Islamic times. 

[Translation op Arabic MS. History of the Yezidis]. 

We purpose to write the history of the Yezidi sect dwelling round 
about the City of Mosul, together with somewhat from their Book 
entitled ** Jilwa,^ and other matters. 

And first of all — 

In the time of the Caliph el-Muqtadir Bi'llah, a.h. 295,t there 
appeared Mansur el-Hallaj (**the Wool-carder "), J and Sheykh 
*Abdu*l-Qadir of Gilan,§ and Sheykh 'Adi from the mountains of 
Hekkariyya, who was originally from the coimtry round about 
Aleppo and Ba*l-bekk, whence he came and settled in the mountain 
of Lalesh,|| distant from Mosul about eleven hours* journey. 
Some, however, assert that he was of the people of the Hawran, and 

* Ostrich feathers dyed scarlet are also worn dnring the dancing at the feaet. 
The Parsis and Hindus hang leaves across their doors at the New Tear. 

t A.D. 907-8. This is the date of el-Muqtadir's accession. He reigned till 
A.H. 320 (A.D. 932). 

X Hnseyn Mansnr, the Wool-carder, a celebrated Persian mystic, revered as a 
saint by the more advanced Snfis, was put to death with great cruelty at Baghdad 
in A.H. 309 (A.D. 921-2), on a charge of heresy and blasphemy, because he had 
oried out in one of his ecstasies *' Ana'l-Baqq" ** I am God ! " One of the oldest 
accounts of his life, doctrine, and death, is that griven in the Fihriet (ed. ilugel, 
p. 190, and notes), but he is mentioned in nearly all Biographies of Sufi saints 
Faridu'd-Din 'Attar, Hafiz, and Jami, all speak of him with admiration and 

§ Sheykh Muhiyyu'd-Din 'Abdu'l-Qadir of Gilan (in Persia), the founder of the 
Qadiri order of dervishes, was bom, according to Jami {Nafahatf ed. Lees, p. 587), 
in A.H. 471 (A.D. 1078-9), and died a.h. 561 (a.d. 1165-6). 

II Taqut calls it Lailesh or Lelesh. Of. Hoffmann's ** Ausziige aus Syrisohen 
Akten Persischer Martyrer," p. 197, and note 1568. 

368 TrauBlatioii of Arabic MS. 

was descended from Merwan ibn el-Hakani. His full name was 
Sliarafu *d-Din Abu *1 Faza'il *Adi ibn Musafir ibn Isma'il ibn 
Musa ibn Merwan ibn el-Hasan ibn Merwan. He died in the vear 
A.H. 558 (a.d. 1162-3), and his tomb is still known and visited near 
the village of Ba*Idri.* The Yezidis are the progeny of those who 
were the murids, that is, the disciples, of Shevkh *Adi, though 
others trace them to Yezid ibn Mo*awiya,t and others again to 
Hasan of Basra.^ 

Now they (i.e. the Yezidis) are divided into seven classes, whereof 
each class has a special fimction assigned to it to the exclusion of 
the others, who cannot and may not perform it : § 

First J the Amir, who must needs be of the race of Yezid. And 
in the hands of these is a pedigree ascending through sires and 
grandsires up to Yezid ; and in them are vested the administrative, 
political, and aristocratic functions. 

Secondly, the Sheykh, who is the servant of Sheykh *Adi*s shrine. 
He has insignia which he wears; on his body somewhat of the 
nature of a girdle, || and on his hand a net like the head-netting of 
a camel. And when he appears amongst them (i.e. the Yezidis) they 
do him reverence in all humility and respect and self-abasement. 

Thirdly, the Qamwal, to whom is delegated the duty of shrouding 
the dead and chanting religious litanies. 

Fourthly, the Pir, whose fimction is [to superintend] fasts, and 
festal displays, and the breaking of the fast. 

Fifthly, the Kuchdk, to whom is assigned the service of the 
cymbals, and celebrations, and song. 

Sixthly, the Faqir, whose duty it is to assemble the boys and 
girls, and to instruct them in playing the cymbals, and in religious 
dancing and merry-making. 

Seventhly, the Mnllu, who is entrusted with the instruction of the 
children, and the guardianship of the Book and the mysteries of 
religion, and the affairs of the community. 

The Sheykhs pretend to prophetic gifts, and the Amir exercises 
control over their {persons and their afEairs. 

* See Hoffmann, op. laud, p. 197, and note 1561. 

t The second Omayyad Caliph, reigned a.d. 680-683. 

X A celebrated theologian, who died in October, a.d. 728. His life is given at 
pp. 370-372 of de Slane's translation of Ibn KhalHkan. 

§ Cf. Menant's Yezidis (Paris, Leronx, 1892), pp. 54-64. 

II Zunnar. the girdle worn by the Brahmins and Zoroastrians, and, as the 
Muslims suppose, by the Christians also. 

History of the Yezidis. 369 

[Of their observances] they have taken fasting and sacrifice from 
Islam ; baptism from the Christians ; i)rohibition of [certain] foods 
from the Jews ; their mode of adoi*ation from the Idolators ; dis- 
simulation of doctrine * from the Rafizis [i.e. the Shi'ites] ; human 
sacrifices from ancient [Arab] Paganism, and incarnation and trans- 
migration from the Sal)ean8. For they say that when the spirit of 
man goes forth from his body, it enters into another man,t if it Ix? 
just ; but if unjust into an animal. They worship the sim and 
moon, and their elders sell unto the common folk a place in paradise, 
and that for money. They have a book called Jiltoa, which they 
ascril^e to Sheykh *Adi ; and they suffer no one who is not of their 
sect to read it or look ui)on it. It contains many absurd fables and 
strange stories, foreign to all other religions, and remote from their 
traditions. Thus it is said therein that there exist seven gods, each 
of whom controls the universe for a jx^riod of 10,000 years. J And 
one of these seven gods is Lucifer, the chief of the fallen and 
rebellious angels, whom they call MaJak Taus. And they make an 
image of him of molten coi)i)er in the likeness of a bird, resembling 
most closely the ordinary domestic cock, and they offer adoration to 
it, and celebrate its praises, and l)eat the cymbals before it. And 
by some artifice and cunning they make it dance, as though it too 
were rejoicing with them when they assemble round it in the towns 
and villages. For they carry it al)out unceasingly [from place to 
place] , and collect money from the common folk who come to visit 
it, l)ecause these supjwse that if this liis image enters any house, 
that house becomes blessed and honoured. 

Now some of them would asciilx? Divinitv to Shevkh *Adi, while 
others say, " Nay, but he is to God like a ix>werful and trusted 
minister, agreeably to whose advice and arrangement all things are 
done." Likewise they say that the Primal Cause is the Supreme 
God, who, ere He created this world, brooded alone over the seas ; 
and in His hand was a great i)earl wherewith He played. Then 
He cast it, of set purpose, into the sea ; and from it the world was 

Ihirthermore, they suppose themselves not to l)e of mortal seed 

* Mukhalafat appears to have this meaning, but it may alHO signify ** opposi- 
tion to constitated authority." 

f Fi ghayri inean, which should properly mean "into other than a man ; " 
but I fancy that it i» intended to have the meaning gfiven in the text ; unless,, 
indeed, it signifies "into a superhuman being." Cf. Menant's Yezxdis, pp. 79, 87. 

I Cf. Menant's TezidiSy p. 87. 

B B 

370 Translation of Arahic MS. 

like the rest of mankind, but that a son was lx)m to Adam of his 
spittle, and that they are lx»j^otten of this son. For this cause do 
they imagine their nature to l)e more refined, nobler, and more 
accej^table to the gods than others. 

A i)eriod of 6,000 years of the turn and cycle of control of Malak 
Ta'us has elapsed, and the control will continue in his hand for 
another 10,000 years [sic MS.— ? 4000]. And when these 10,000 
years l>e fulfilled, another god will lx»gin to govern the world for 
another 10,000 years ; and so on for ever. And amongst these 
seven gods there subsists perfect accord. 

It is related by them that once God Almighty invited Sheykh 
*Adi to heaven, together with his muridsy that is, his discii>les; 
and there was in heaven no chaff wherewith they might feed tlieir 
horses. Thereupon Sheykh *Adi l)ade his disciples bring chaff 
from his threshing-floors ; and whilst they were conveying the chaff, 
some of it fell, and the token thereof remains in the skv until this 
our time,* and is known as ** the Wav of the Chaff," or " the Eam's 
Tongue " [*r] , stret<;hing from the East to the West, and clearly 
visible during almost the whole year. 

They likewise? suppose that prayer must he of the heart, and not 
outwardly performed ; for there is laid upon them no command or 
injunction to pray. 

Some of them assert that Sheykh *Adi went to visit Mecca in 
company with Sheykli 'Abdu'l-Qadir of Gilan, and alx)de there 
for four years ; and that some while after his departure tlie Devil, 
assuming his form and likeness, told them that Sheykh *Adi had 
returned from Mecca, instructed them and gave them a code of 
laws, and then disappeared from amongst them. Then, when Sheykh 
*Adi returned after four years, they treated him with contempt, 
gave him the lie, and drove him forth, saying that Sheikh *Adi had 
some while since l)een taken up into heaven. But aft4?r his death 
the Devil again appeared to them, and said, " This was indeed 
Sheykh 'Adi." So they buried him, and made his tomb a place of 
pilgrimage, wliich, in their opinion, is more excellent than Mecca. 
And it is incumbent and binding on every Yezidi to visit it once at 
least every year ; and he who cannot visit it gives, instead of his 
visitation, a sum of money to the servants [of the shrine, placing 
it] in the hands of their elders in the presence of the image of 

* I^.y the Milky Way, which is called in FerBian Keh-keahan, " the chaflf-carriers.'' 

History of the Yezidis, 371 

In their estimation the Mountain of Lalesh is more excellent 
than the Ka'ba. They say that on the Resun-ection-day Sheykli 
'Adi will carry in a tray on his head all the Yezidis, and will cause 
them to enter into Paradise without any reckoning, or written 
permit, or judgment. Sheykh *Adi was the first who took to him- 
self disciples and imposed on them a discipline,* and from him did the 
institution of spiritual direction take origin. He was remarkable 
for devoutness and assiduity in spiritual exercises. He used to 
hear the preaching of Sheykh *Abdu'l-Qadir of Gilan in Baghdad, 
he himself being [at the time] in Moimt Lalesh. And he would 
draw a circle on the ground, and say to his disciples, " Whosoever 
will hear the preaching of El-Gilani, let him enter this circle.'* 
From this originated a custom which exists even to the present 
day amongst the Yezidis, namely that when a quarrel arises, or 
any difficult case requiring the taking of an oath, the Sheykh draws 
a circle [on the ground] and causeth him who shall take the oath 
to enter therein. 

They will not eat lettuce (kJuuts), because, as they allege, Sheykh 
*Adi one day passed by a garden, and when he asked of it, and 
received no answer, he said, " Come away (his) ! *' 

They say that Ramadhan was a deaf man, and that when God 
enjoined the fast on Christians, Muslims, and others. He likewise 
commanded the Yezidis to fast thirty days, but Ramadhan under- 
stood it as three days only. Wherefore they fast but three days in 
the month of Ramadhan. 

Round about [the tomb of] Sheykh *Adi are many domed 
shrines, each of which they associate with one of their elders — 
Sheykh *Abdu*l-Qadir of Gilan,t Sheykh Qadhibu'1-Ban,: Sheykh 
Shamsu*d - Din,§ Sheykh Mansur-i-Hallaj,|| Sheykh Hasan of 

* Literally, " gave them a path," or " rule of conduct." 

t See note at the foot of p. 367 supra. 

X Sheykh Qadhibu'1-Ban of Mawsil (Mosul) was a contemporary of Sheykh 
'Abdu'l-Qadir. Some account of his life is giTen at pp. 608-9 of Jami's 
Nafahatu*l Una (ed. Lees). Ibn Khallikan (De Slane's translation, vol. ii., p. 
651) says that his tomb lay near the Meydan Gate of Mawsil. De Slane {loc. cit., 
n. 5) declares himself to have been unable to find any notice on this Sufi saint. 

§ There are so many Shamsu'd-Dins that, in default of fuller particulars, it is 
impossible to identify the person to whom allusion is here made. The most 
celebrated of them was Shamsu'd-Din of Tabriz, the friend and spiritual guide 
of Jalalu*d-Din Bumi, who flourished during the first half of the thirteenth 
century of our era. 

1 1 See note at the foot of p. 367 tupra, 

B B 2 

372 Trandation of Arahw MS, 

Basra,* &c. On each of these domes they place a flag of green or yellow 
xiotton, that is to say, an ensign of victor}' and triuniph, and the like. 

They will not eat the flesh of the gazelle, l)ecause, according to 
their assertion, its eyes are like the eyes of Sheykh *Adi. 

They l)elieve that in the Upi^er World there will be eating and 
drinking, and enjoyment of carnal and corporeal pleasures. 

Some of them say that the government of Heaven is in Gk>d*8 
hand, and the government of the earth in the hand of Sheykli *Adi 
or of Malak Ta*us. 

When the soul of Mansur-i-Hallaj went forth from his body 
(when the Governor of Baghdad sentenced him to death) it 
hovered over the waters. And it chanced that his sister came with 
her jar, at the time of [drawnng] wator, and filled it with the water 
of the Tigris, and knew not of the soul |^of her brother] when it 
entered the jar. So she brought it home, and. l)eing affected with 
thirst, drank it unwittingly. Thus did the soul of the above- 
mentioned [Mansur] enter into her, and, l)eing her brother by 
birth, became her son by imputation. Wherefore they [the 
Yezidis] use not drinking vessels with narrow mouths, unless these 
be provided with [a covering of] net -work to guard them, in 
reverence to Shevkh Mansur. When thev cast his head into the 
water it l)oiled. and lx>came possessed of a voice and a murmur. 
Some of them imagine that a Prophet will arise from amongst the 
Persians, and will abrogate the law and religion of Muhammad. 

In the year [a.d.] 1389 the Imjx?rial Ottoman Government 
wished to di-aw soldiers from them for the armv, as from their 
Musubnan subjects. But they all declared and advanced sundry- 
reasons which prevented them from this : — Firstly y that it was 
incumbent on every Yezidi to visit the image of Malak Ta'us three 
times in each year, namely, in the months of Nisan, Eyhd, and the 
second TeshHn.f Secondly, that it was obligator^- on every Yezidi 
to visit the tomb of Shevkh *Adi once everv vear, in the month of 

♦■ ft ft ' 

Eyhd. Thirdly, that ever>' Yezidi was bound to kiss daily the 
hand of his brother, i.e., his spiritual brother (I mean the servant 
of the Mahdi), and the hand of his Sheykh, and his hand. 
Fourihly.X tliat the Yezidi cannot hearken to or tolerate the prayers 

* See note at the foot of p. 368 supra. 
t i.e., April, September, and November. 

X The MS. has *' fifthly,'' omitting ^^ fourthly " entirely, and continuing- 
''sixthly;' ''seventhly," Ac. 

History of the Yezidis. 373 

of the Muslim, because [in the course of his prayers] the latter 
says, ** I take refiige tvith God from Satan the stonedy' hearing which 
the Yezidi is bound by liis religion to kill the sayer, or else to kill 
himself. Fifthly, that, when one of the Yezidis dies, his spiritual 
brother, his Sheykhy and liis Pir must 1k» at his side, as likewise a 
Qawwal [reader or reciter] to recite over him three sentences, 
which are these : ** Amjel 'Ahta'ns ! This man di^ in our faith. 
He hath never believed in any religion hut this, nor accepted such.** 
Sixthly, with us are the blessings of Sheykh 'Adi, by which I 
mean the earth from his tomb, which every Yezidi must have with 
him, and whereof he must eat at the inevitable and api)ointc»d 
time * — an obser\'ance obligatory upon us. Seventhly, every Yezidi 
nuist, when he fasts. l>e in his ow^n house, and must go every 
morning of the fast to his Shsykh and his Pir,f at whose hands he 
accejits the fast, and at w^hose hands he breaks it with consecrated 
wine. Eighthly, when a Yezidi continues absent from his house for 
a year, his wife becomes unlawful unto him, neither will they give 
him another wife. Ninthly, it is necessary that every Yezidi should 
have the collar of his shirt, when it is new, oj^ened by his spiritual 
In'other or sister. Tenthly, every Yezidi must dip his new clothes 
in the w^ater of Sheykh *Adi. Eleventhly, a Yezidi must not wear 
dark X i*aimcnt ; nor dress his hair after the fashion of the 
Muslims, Christians, or Jews ; nor shave his head with the razors 
of these. Tirelfthly, a Yezidi entereth not the []»laces of J purifica- 
tion or baths of the Muslim, nor eateth food that hath l>een 
prepared by a Muslim, nor drinketh the drinks of other peoples 
[than his own]. Thirteenthly, the Yezidi may not eat fish, nor 
cucimil)er, nor hamiyya,^ nor French beans, nor cabbage, nor lettuce 
[khass II], &c. So when they had adduced these ol)jections to their 
enteiing the army, the government l>egan to levy on them anny-rates 
such as it levies on the Christians and Jews, which praiitice subsists 
to the present day, namely, the year 1300 of the Fhght (a.d. 1882-3). 

* i.e., the time of death. 

t Cf. p. 368 supra. 

X Kulili, of the colour of the kuhl, or antimony, used to blacken the eye- 
lanlies and eyebrows. The YezidiH are said always to wear white garments, and 
to hold the colonr blue in particular aversion. Cp. Menant's '* Yezidis," p. 85. 

§ An edible leguminous plant, identified by Schlimmer {Temiitwlogie MMico- 
Pharmaceutique Franraise-Perttane, p. 1) with Ahelmoschus (Hihi^ruif) escnlentus 

See p. 371 supra, and cp. also Menant's Yezidis, p. 66. 

374 Translation of Arabic MS. 

Even* year tho Yozidis j^^itluT at [the shrine of] Sheykli 'A«li, 
and this ^.itherin^ tliey call **the General Assembly '* (Jinia^iyya). 
Diiiing a ix.»ri()<l nf ei^ht days they 8i)end their time in eatin;<, 
drinking, s[K>rts, and the like. 

Thev sav that Shevkh *Adi was so strenuous in God's service, and 
so pious, that even serjjents, reptiles, and lx»asts of prey used to 
consort with him : and he used to disclose to his disciples revela- 
tions, mysteries, prophecies, and knowled^^ of the unseen. Even 
at the present day c«*rtain of their elders lay claim to this power. 
Thev sav alst) that Shevkh 'Adi used to dwell in the sixth island of 
the Circumamhient Ocean, and that he would c<anmand the wind 
and it would Ik* still, or he would do the converse of this. 

" From the hook * JibrOj' 

which existed hejure all creatures. 

'*Malak Ta'us sent *Al)ta'us into this wt^rld t(> warn and se[>arate 
his chosen i»eopl«» from error ; Jirst, by [tea<.*hinjj: themj resignation, 
secondly by this book *'Jihraj^ which it is m>t |)ennitted to 
strangers to read or to look u[>on. 

First Section, 

** I was, and am now% and will continue unto eternity, ruling over 
all creatures and ordering the affairs and deeds of those who are 
under mv swav. I am ]»resentlv at hand to such as trust in me 
and call upon me in time of nee<l, neither is there any place void 
of me where I am not present. I am thine evil in all those events 
which strangers name evils lxH.'ause they are not done according to 
their desire. Every age has a Kegent,* and this by my counsel. 
Every generation + changes with the Chief of this World, so that 
each one of the chiefs in his turn and cycle fulfils his charge. I 
grant indulgence a<.'cording to the [just] merits of those qualities 
wherewith ea4.*h disposition is l>y naturt? endowed. He who oppt>seth 
me vexeth and grieveth the other gods, to whom it is not given to 
interfere in mv business and work : whatsix'V(*r I determine, that is. 

" The Scriptures which are in the hands of strangers, J even 
though they were written by pn)|»hets and aj^ostles, y^i have these 

• Mndahhir. 

f Or race, or ajfo ijeyl). 

X I.e., those of other rcligionR {el-Khar ijun). 

Hiatory of the Yezidu, 375 

turned aside, and relxilled, and j>er\'erted them ; and each one of 
them confuteth the other and abrogateth it. Truth and Falsehood 
are distinguished by proving them at the time of their aj)i)earance. I 
ni-ill fulfil mv promise to thost* who jjut their trust in me, and will 
l)erform my covenant, or will act contrary to it, according to the 
judgment of those wise and discerning Regents to whom I have 
delegated my authority for d<.»tenninate i»eriods. I take note of all 
affairs, and promote the ix»rforman(!e of what is nei^dful in its duo 
time. I direct and teach such as will follow my teaching, wlnj find 
in their accord \vith me joy and delight greater than any joy where- 
with the soul rejoiceth. 

Second Section, 

'* I reward and I pimish this progeny of Adam in all diff<?rent 
ways of which I have knowledge. In this my hand is the control 
(^f the earth and what is abi^ve it and iK-neath it. I undertake not 
the assistiincc? of other nu*es,* neither do I withhold good from 
them ; much less do I [grudge it] to those who are my chosen 
l>eople and ol)edient servants. I surrender active control into the 
hands of those whom I have proved, who are, in accordance with 
my will, friends in some shajK; and fashion to such as are faithful 
and abide by my counsel. I take and I give ; I make rich and I 
make jK>or ; I make haj>[)y and I make wretched, according to 
environments and seasons, and there is none who hath the right 
t.o interfere, <jr to withdiuw anv man fnun mv control. I draw 
down jmins and sicknesses upon tjuch as strive to thwart me. H<.^ 
who is accounted mine, ditjth not like other men. I suffer no man 
to dwell in this lower world for more than the i)eriod det<?nnined by 
me ; and, if I wish, I send him Imck into this world a second and a 
third time, or more, by the transmigration of the soul, and this 
bv a imiversal law." 

Third Section. 

" I guide without a [revealed] book ; I j>oint tht' way by ims^H'n 
means unto my friends and such as observe the precH?pts of my 
teaching, which is not grievous, and is adapted to the time and 

* 'Awalim I here tranHlato " race8 " not " worlds " ; for I suppose that Malak 
Ta'us (or whoever may be the speaker) intends to say that he is responsible for 
the Yezidis only, who, as it appears, regard themselves as a race apart from the 
rest of mankind, descended indee<l from Adam, but not from Eve. 

37t) Translation of Arabic MS, 

conditions. I punish such as contravene my laws in other worlds. 
The children of this Adam know not those things which are deter- 
mined, wherefore they oft-times fall int^ error. Tlie beasts of the 
field, and of heaven, and the fish of the sea, all of them are in my 
hand and under my control. The treasures and hoards buried in 
the heart of the earth are known to me, and I cause one after 
another to inherit them. I make manifest my signs and wonders 
CO such as will receive them and seek them from me in their due 
season. The antagonism and opjxjsition of strangers to me and my 
followers do but injure the authors thereof, because they know not 
that might and wealth are in my hands, and that I bestow them on 
such of Adam's progeny as are deserving of them. The ordering of 
the worlds, the revolution of ages, and the changing of their regents 
are mine from eternity. And whosoever walketh not uprightly 
therein, him will I chastise in my own ai>pointed time, and turn 
back to his former charge." 

Fourth Section. 

*• The seasons are four, and the elements are four ; these have I 
vouchsafed to meet the needs of my creatures. The scriptures of 
strangers * are accepted l)y me in so far as they accord and agree 
with my ordinances and run not counter to them ; for they have 
been for the most part i)erverted. Three there are opposed to me, 
and three names do I hate. To such as keep my secrets shall my 
promises be fulfilled. All those who have undergone tribulations 
for my sake, will I re(;omixnise without fail in one of the worlds. 
I desire all my followers to be united in one fold on account of 
those who are antagonists and strangers to them. O ye who 
observe my injunctions, reject such sayings and teachings as are 
not from me. Mention not mv name or my attributes, as 
strangers do, lest ye l>e guilty of sin, for ye have no knowledge 

Fifth Section. 

" Honour my symbol and image, for it will remind you of what 
ye have neglected of my laws and ordinances. Be obedient to my 
servants and act with sincerity towards them, [in gratitude] for 
what they communicate to you of that knowledge of the unseen 
which thev receive from me." 

* /.e., of sDch as are not of the Yezidi faith. 

History of the Yezidis, ' 377 

Another Account. 

'* In the bej^iuning God created the White Pearl out of His most 
I)reeious Essence ; and He created a hird named Anghar. And 
He placed the j^earl upon its hack, and dwelt thereon forty thousand 
years. On the first day, Sunday, He created an angel named 
^Azazily which is Ta'iM Malak (*the Peacock Angel*), the chief of 
all. On Monday He created DordiiiL which is Sheykh Hasan.* 
On Tuesday He created larafiU who is Sheykh Shams [-ud-Din]« 
On Wednesday He created MikaiL who is Sheykh Abu Bekr. On 
Thursday He created *AzraiU who is Sajadin. On Friday He 
created the angel Shenmail, who is Na^irii'd-Din. On Saturday 
He created the snivel Nura it, who is of the religion of Malak Ta^un] 
and him He made chief oyer them.+ Afterwards He created the* 
form of the seyen heayens, and the earth, and the sun, and the 
moon. [Afterwards] + He created mankind, and animals, and 
birds, and l)easts. and placed them in the folds of His mantle, and 
arose from the Pearl, accompanied by the angels. Then He cried 
out at the Pearl with a loud cry. and forthwith it fell asunder into 
four piec^»s, and water gushed out from within it and became the 
sea. The world was roimd without corners [i^j. Then He created 
Gabriel in the form of a bird, and committed to his hands the 
deposition of the four corners. Then He created an ark ('r) and 
al)ode therein thirty thousand years, after which He came and 
dwelt in Lalesh. He cried out in the world, and the sea coagulated, 
and the world l^ecame worms which continued to wriggle. Then 
He commanded Gal)riel to take two of the pieces of the White 
Pearl, one of which He placed under the earth, while the other 
rested in the Gate of Heaven. Then He i)laced in them the sun 
and the moon, and created the stars from their fragments, and 
suspended them in heaven for an ornament. He also created fruit- 
l>earing trees and plants in the earth, and likewise the mountains. 

* Presumably Sheykh Hasan of Basra (^ee note on p. 368 supra), who would 
consequently seem to be regarded as an incarnation of this angel. 

f Cf. Menant's Tezidis^ p. 84, where the names of the Seven Angels are 
somewhat differently given. 

X The manuscript has here Fakhru'd-din khala^al-ifis. . . . 'Fakhru'd- 
din created mankind,' &c. The text seems to be corrupt ; we should, perhaps, 
read Fakhran Wd-din, " for a glory to the religion," and take these words with 
what precedes instead of with what follows. It would, however, appear, from 
pp. 378 and 387, that Fakhru'd-Din is identified with the god Chemosh. 

378 Translation of Arabic MS, 

to eml^ellish the earth. He created the Throne over the Cari>et.* 
Tlien said the Mighty L(»rd, '* O Angels, I will create Adam and 
Eve, and will make them human beings, and from them two shall 
arise, out of the loins of Adam [Shehr ibn Jebr ?] ; and from Adam 
[alone] shall arise a single jxiople on the earth, the j)eople of 
*Azazil, to wit of Ta'us Malal\ which is the Yezidi |>eople.* Then 
He sent Shevkh *Adi b. Musafir from the land of Svria, and he 
came and dwelt in Lalesh. Then the Lord descended to the Holy 
Land, that is Jerusalem (el-Quds), and commanded Gabriel to take 
earth from the four corners of the world : earth, air, fire, and water. 
He made it [man], and endowed it with a soul bv His power. 
Then He coimnanded Gabriel to enter Paradise and to eat of the 
fruit of every green herb, only of wheat should he not eat.f After 
a hundred years Tans MaJak said to God, * How shall Adam 
increase and multiply, and where is his offspring ? * God said to him, 
* Into thv hand have I surrendered authority and administration.* 
Then He came and said to Adam, * Hast thou eaten of the wheat ? ' 
He answered, * No, for God hath forbidden me so to do, and hath said, 
*' Thou shalt not eat of it." ' [Malak Taus] said to him, * [Nay, but] 
all shall go lx?tter with thee.' But, after he had eaten, his belly 
swelled up, and Ta*us MaJak drove liim forth from Paradise, and 
left him, and ascended into heaven. Then Adam suffered from 
[the distension of] his lx41y, because it had no outlet. But God 
sent a bird, wliich came and helj^ed him, and made an outlet for it, 
and he was relieved. And Gabriel continued absent from him for a 
hundred years, and he was sad, and wept. Then God commanded 
Gabriel, and he came and created Eve from under Adam's left 
arm-pit. Then Malak Ta'us descended to earth for the sake of our 
jxjople — I mean the much- suffering Yezidis — and raised up for us 
kings beside the kings of the ancient Assyrians, NesrukhX (who is 
Nasiru'd-Din), and KamnshX (who is King Fakhru'd-Din), and 
Artimus (who is King Shamsu'd-Din). And after this we had two 
kings, the first and the second Shapur, whose rule lasted one 
hundred and fifty years, and from whose seed are our Amirs until 
the present day ; and we l)ecame divided into four Septs. § To us 
it is forbidden to eat lettuce (kh<iss) — ^because its name resembles 

• By ** the Throne " {'arsh) is meant "the Throne of God," and by "the 
Carpet" (farah) the Earth. 

f Wheat, according to the Mohammedan belief, was the forbidden froit. 
X The gods Nisroch and Chemosh of Scripture. 
§ Cf. Menant*8 Fe«tdw,pp. 117-118. 

History of the Yezidis, 379 

that of our prophetess Khassa* — and haricot l)eans ; also to dye 
[our garments] dark [blue] ; f neither do we eat fish, out of respect 
for Jonah the prophet ; nor gazelles, because these constituted the 
flock of one of our prophets. Tlie Shevkh and his disciples, 
moreover, eat not the flesh of the cock, out of resjxjct for the 
I>eacock ; for it is one of the seven gods J before mentioned, and 
its image is in the form of a cock.§ The Sheykh and his disciples 
likewise abstain from eating [the flesh of] hornless I)ea8t8. It is, 
moreover, forbidden to us to make water standing, or to put on our 
clothes sitting, or to cleanse ourselves in the privy as do the 
Muliammadans, or to i)erform our ablutions in their baths. 
Neither is it j^ermitted to us to j>ronounce the name of Satan 
(I)ecau8e it is the name of our God), nor any name resembling 
this, such as Kitan, ShurVf Shatt \\ ; nor any vocable resembling 
maVun [in sound, such as] ruiU or the like. Before . . . %omy 
religion was called idolatry; and the Jews, Christians, Muslims, 
and Persians held aloof from our religion. King Ahab and 
Anion (?) were of us, so that they used to call the God of Aliab 
Beelzebub, whom they now call amongst us Pir-huh. We had a 
king in Babel whose name was Bukhti-Nossor,** and Ahasuerus in 
Persia, and in Constantinople Agricola. Before heaven and earth 
existed, God was over the waters in an ark in the midst of the 
waters. Then He was wroth with the jx^arl which he had created, 
wherefore he cast it away ; and from the crash of it were produced 
the mountains, and from the clang of it the sand-hills, and from 
its smoke the heavens. Then God ascended into heaven, and 
condensed the heavens, and fixed them [in their place] without 
supi)orts, and enclosed the earth. Then He took the i>en in His 
hands, and began to write down [the names of] all His creatures. 

* Cf. p. 371 supra, where a different reason is griven. 

t Cf. note on p. 373 supra. 

X I.e., Malak Ta'ns, " the Peacock Angel." 

§ This image is figured at p. 99 of Menant's Tezidis. 

I Cf. Menant, loc. cit., pp. 80-82: *Au8si, en parlant d'one rivit're, ils ne 
disent pas Shaft, parceqne ce mot a trop de rapport avec la premiere syllabe dn 
nom Satan, " Sheitan, le Diable," mais ils cmploient I'expression Nahr. C'est 
pour la mome raison qn'ils ne se servent pas dn mot Kexstati *'fil *' on " frange:'' 
Nanl " fer »\ cheval," et Naal-hend '* mar^chal," sont des mots defendns qni 
rappoUent I'expression Laan " malediction," et Maloun " maudit.'" 

f Tlie text of the first part of this sentence is so corrupt that I cannot even 
conjecture its meaning. 

*• Nebuchadnezzar. 

4380 Translation of' Arabic MS. 

From His esseiK-e and li^ht He created six gods, whose creation 
was as one ligliteth a lamp fn)in another lamp. Then said the first 
god to the second god, * I have created heaven ; ascend thou into it, 
and create something else.' And when he ascended, the sun came 
into l)eing. And he said to the next, * Ascend!' and the moon 
came into lH?ing. And the third put the heavens in movement, and 
the fourth [creatiKlJ the stars, and the fifth created el-Knra^jh (h) — 
that is to say, the Morning Star ; and so on." 

Another Account, 

The Yezidis say that there are seven gods, one of whom descended 
to earth and created hell and paradise. After this he create Adam 
and Eve and all animals. And Adam and Eve disputed and were 
vexed with one another as to the generation of the human raci*, each 
one of them saying, ** From me shall it l>e l)egotten." And they 
saw the Ijeasts mating, and the male pairing with the female, and 
how they brought forth their young. Then each one of them i>ut 
their seed (some say their spittle) int^ a jar ; and they closed the 
mouths of the two jars with their seals. And after nine months 
they o|)eued their jars ; and in Adam's jar they saw a jm-ir of 
children, exc^^ding fair ; but in Eve's jar only two white wonns. 
Then God creat<*d paps f<.>r Adam wherewith he suckled them ; and 
thev wen^ male and femaUs and from these two was the Yezidi 
piH)ple l)egotten. After this Adam knew Eve, and children were 
born of them, and from these sprang the Jews, the Christians, the 
Muslims, and the rest of the human ra<;e. But Seth, Enoch, Noah, 
and other good men are of us — us, the Yezidis ; from Adam alone 
are thev descended, and not from Eve. At that time arose strife 
and eumitv l>etwixt the man and his wife. And when thev came 
lx.»fore a just man for arbitration, he decided l)etween them and 
sent them away. And the cause of this [strife] was that the 
man would say, " She is my ^-ife," and the woman would say. 
** He is not mv huslmnd." Therefore* were the drum and horn 
introduced [at the marriage ceremony], in order that whosoever 
heard the sound of them might inquire and know that such an one 
was wedded to such an one, and that they [who heard] might Ix^ 
^vitnesses against them when one of them denied the rights of the 

They say also that the Delugi' of Noah was the last flood in this 
w^orld ; and that the Yezidi i)eople descend and spring from a noble 
personage, the King of Peace, whose name is Nu*7nay whom they 


History of the Yezidis. 381 

now call Malik Miran ; and that the rest of mankind are from the 
seed of Ham, who mocked his father. 

They likewise say that God Almighty talked with our father 
Adam in the Kurdish tongue, which was the first tongue, and was 
from of old in the world ; and that the Ark of Noah rested once in 
the village of *Ayn Sifni,* which is near to Sheykh *Adi, and 
distant about seventeen hours from Nineveh. Men are wicked 
because they condemn and despise our religion ; wherefore God 
sent against them the second deluge. And when the Ark of Noah 
rose and floated on the water, it drifted and passed onwards to the 
Mountain of Sanjar, which is distant about eighteen hours from 
Mosul ; and there it struck on a rock which pierced it, and the 
serpent coiled itself up, and pushed itself into the hole, and stopped 
the leak. Then the Ark halted and stood still over the Mountain 
of Judi, which is distant al>out twentv-four hours from Mosul, 
And when the race of serjients multiplied, Noah caught them and 
burned them, and from their Iwnes fleas were produced. 

From the Deluge until now al>out seven thousand years have 
elapsed, and every thousand years one of the seven gods descends to 
earth bringing signs and wonders, and ascends again into heaven. 
The Holy Temple and other sacred spots are ours, and in the 
hands of our people. At this time AUah-Yezid descended to teach 
and confirm us. For Muhammad the Prophet of God, whom God 
illuminated, had a servant by name Malawi. f And he (I'.e. 
Muhammad) walked not in the way of God uprightly, wherefore 
he was afflicted with pain in the head. One day he said to his 
servant Malawi, " Scarif}' my head, for it pains me.*' But when he 
scratched it too violently the blood flowed from it, whereupon he. 
that is Mo*aioi, licked it with his tongue. And when Muhammad 
perceived this, he said to him, " What hast thou done ? For [now] 
from thee shall come forth a people and a nation which shall vex 
and hurt my people." Then Malawi answered, ** Then will I not 
wed, so that I may have no offspring." But aft-er a while Mo'awi 
fell sick, until at length the physicians agreed that he must either 
marry or die. So they married him to an old woman aged seventy 
years ; and he lay with her. And next morning, behold, she was 
a yoimg girl of twenty-five, and she conceived and brought forth 
Yezid, our god. Those of other faiths and races say that when 

• See Hoffmann, loc. laud., p. 197. 
t Sic, apparently for Mo^awiya. 

382 Translation of Arah!c MS. 

our god (les(rende(l to earth, he was cast out and cut off from the 
Great and Ahuightv God ; wherefore they blasjjheme and revile him. 
In this thev err and go astray. \Vlien he descended to this eartli, 
he gave us banners, and tokens, and signs ; then he ascended into 
heaven. Hell was creat*?d in the first days of Adam. At that 
time, too, he begat a son (;alled Ibriq Asghar, and for him he 
created companions. For a jjeriod of six years he was afflicted in 
his eyes; and his nose, hands, and feet ached. And he had a 
little ewer, and into this ewer his tears ran whenever he wept, until 
it was filled. Then he emptied it and ix>ured its contents over hell, 
and the fire thereof was quenched. Thev say that each of the 
seven gods made for him a banner, that is to say a flag for a token ; 
and these were for a time in the keejdng of Solomon the Wise, who 
bequeathed them after his death to our kings. And when our 
god was bom, he took them and gave them to <nir Amir, and they 
have remained in our hands till now. And they carry them in pro- 
cessions and recite praises l)efore them in the Kurdish tongue, witli 
mumblings of uncouth words, such as '* Halumma halalu*' and the 
like. Everv' year they deposit a j)ledge of money with the Amir, 
the chief Sheykh, the Vakil, and the rest, and send one [of the 
flags] to Khalatiyya (which is the name of a district), and another 
to AlepjK), and another to Masquq, and another to Sanjar. These, 
after deix)siting this pledge, they take to Sheykh *Adi, where they 
wash them with acid sumac-juice. Tlien they dip them in water, 
and send with each one a handful of earth from the tomb of Sheykh 
*Adi. And this earth they make into little pellets like gall-nuts, 
which they hawk about and sell for money as anuilets for the dead 
and those newly married. And when the standard approaches any 
town or villagt», tliey first send a herald in advance to announce its 
arrival. Then all the Yezidis who dwell there go forth to meet it 
with cymbals and flutes, and bring it in to the largest and noblest 
house, which gives a sum of money in honour of its entry. Here 
the jjeople assemble to i>ay their respects to it, and make offerings 
to it of silver, gold, arms, clothes, and the like. Tlie remaining 
three banners (for there are seven in all) they keep in their holy places, 
two at Shevkh *Adi and one at Bakhrafi ; and everv four months thev 
carry round in procession each of them in turn through the Amir*s 
diocese. And each of them has its api>ointed chamber, wherein 
they jjlace a lamp in which they biuii olive oil. Their most solemn 
festival is in tlie month of Nisan (April), during tlie first four days 
of wliich there must be meat in the house of every Yezidi, and 


History of the Yezldis. 883 

their maidens gather roses and other flowers, which they place at 
the gates of their courtyards as a token of rejoicing for the feast. 
Their women send food and provisions to the tombs at sundown, 
and wayfarers, the poor, and the destitute eat thereof; and this 
they do for other than their own dead. And the Kuchak mutters (r) 
as though he were praying over the tombs, and [for this] receives 
money ; and so, likewise, the Qawwal plays shrill music on his 
flute, and invokes mercy on them [the dead], for which he receives 
money as remuneration for his labour. On the first day of the 
year, which they call Sar-sali, they refrain from playing on 
cymbals, drums, or flutes, because [on that day] God sits on His 
throne arranging the decrees for the [coming year] , as to whom He 
shall send, and how He shall send him, and whither He shall send 
him, and so on. They imagine that God does not require them to 
fast or pray, but only to give alms, and to do good works, and act 
uprightly. And when one of their Kuchahs is fasting, if one of 
the common people comes and offers him food he at onc« breaks his 
fast, and eats. Their elders intimidate and threaten them, if they 
fail to give gifts and alms as it l)ehove8 them to do, with chastise- 
ments, such as plague, fever, famine, and divers pestilences and 
pains, or with the triumph of their enemies over them. Ever}' 
Friday they must bring one load of food and drink to each sanjaq* 
and, when one of them arrives, he cries out in a loud voice on the 
terrace, saying, "An invitation to the sons of so-and-so," men- 
tioning the name whereby the sanjaq is called. And, when they 
hear, they kiss the stones and earth about the place where they are 
standing, as they do at the rising and setting of the sun and moon. 
** Our books are our hearts," say they, ** for they announce and 
foretell to us what hath been and shall Iw, and the like.*' [Where- 
fore] want of agreement and discord [sometimes] subsists amongst 
their Kuchaks, who, as they say, sjn^ak and prophesy as it is 
revealed to them in visions and dreams in the night. Accordingly 
the Kuchak is as a prophet in their eyes, so that one of them will 
say, " I was in Jonah's ship, and with my hands did I cast him 
into the sea ; and Jonah remained in the bosom of the deep forty 
days and nights." And another will say, " I was in the council- 
chamber of God when He sent Christ into the world; and He 
disclosed to our Church seven treasures, which are now deposited 

* Flag, banner ; or the district governed by each of the^e banners. See 
the preceding page, about the middle. 

384 Translation of Arabic MS. 

and hidden in Sheykh *Adi. Strangers, tliat is to say the Jews, 
Christians, and Muslims, do not preserve the order of their descent 
as we do ; that is to say, [with us"] Sheykh is the son of Sheykh, 
Kuchak of Kuchak, Qawwal of Qawwal, and so on; and none 
marries save with his own order, and kind, and sept, contrary to 
the custom of the Cliristians, vnth whom it is i>ossible for (me to l>e 
a priest whose father was not a i>riest, and so in the case of the 
[Muhammadan] inulla, <fcc." The Qawumh suffer not the razor to 
pass over their faces. At tlieir marriages they take cakes of thin 
bread from the house of the Kuchak, half of which they give to 
the bridegroom and half to the bride ; and also a little earth from 
the tomb of Sheykh *Adi, which brings ]>le8sing, and is a i)erfecting 
of the marriage rite in tht?ir eyes. And in every house there must 
be a little earth from the toml> of Sheykh *Adi against the time of 

When one of them wrongs tlie wife of another, he must 
make comi)en8ation in money, or surrender up [to the other] his 
sister, or his mother, or his daugliter, or his wife. It is unlawful 
and foi*bidden to them to marry in the month of Nisan (Aj>ril). 
I)ecau8e it is the l)eginning of the year ; * to all, that is to say, 
except the Kuchak, who is exempted from this rule, and may marry, 
if he list, even in the month of Nisan. Each one of them, if hr 
desire it, may take to himself any numlx*r of wives up to six. An 
exception is made in favour of the Amivy to whom is brought what- 
soever woman he desireth. With them the daughter lias no share 
of inheritance from her father, but is accounted as an estate wliich 
the father can sell if he will. And, therefore, if a daughter dt>es 
not wish to marr}% she must ]>ay her father a sum of money earned 
by the labour of her hands, her craft, or her gains. On the occasion 
of a marriage they drink intoxicating liquors to celebrate the union, 
except the Kuchak and three of the Sheykha. And it is i)ermitt(.'d 
to them to dance together, men and women alike. And the l)ride, 
ere she depart to the house of the bridegroom, must visit the 
jjersonages [revered by the Yt^zidis],-*- that is to say their shrines, 
and likewise any church of the Christians which hap])ens to lie on 
her way. And when she reaches the bridegroom's house, he strikes 

* That is, I suppose, of the old Per»an solar year, the beginning of which is 
marked by the entry of the Sun into the Sign of Aries. 

t The MS. has Shvqus, for which (as it neems to give no intelligible meaning) 
I read Shukhus, *^ personages," or "images." 

History of the Yezidis, 385 

her with a little stoue, to indicate that she is subject to his 
autlioritj. Then they break a roll of bread over her head, to 
indicate that she shall be merciful and compassionate towards 
the poor, and needy, and indigent. On the eves of Friday 
and Wednesday it is forbidden to marry, or to lie with the 

When a Yezidi dies, they place a little earth from [the tomb of] 
Sheykh 'Adi in his mouth and on his face, and lay pellets of sheep's 
dung on his grave. The Kuchak recites prayers over the dead man, 
and describes by inspiration what hath liefallen him after his death, 
whether he shall return again to this world, or hath not returned, 
and. if he has returned, what form or whom [his spirit] inhabits. 
For the souls of their just ones pass by metempsychosis into human 
forms, but the wicked into animals.. And there are found some 
amongst them who bury money and other things in the ground, 
and there conceal it, that it may be a provision for their second 
advent into this world. They further supjwse that the spirits of 
their just ones dwell in the air, and disclose secrets, and hidden 
things, and visions, to those who dwell in this world of ours. And 
the Kuchak * can cause to die or give life. 

Behind the Mountain of Sheykh Matta f lies the shrine of a 
l>er8on J named Muhammad Rashshan, who is greatly venerated by 
them, so that in disputes and quarrels amongst themselves, his 
name is used as the final adjuration. 

When one among them falls sick, he seeks healing at a Khasiriy^ 
that is to say, a shrine, which exists [at] || Sitt Nafisa, and is an 
elm-tree^ in the village of Ba'ashika** (called by others 'Abdi-Rash, 
which is on the stone), or at an elm-tree in the village of Kharabak. 
And when one among them is sick with the jaundice, he goes to a 
spring called Kana-zar ; while he who is affticted with the dropsy 
goes to the house of a Pir who dwells in the village of Mam- 

* That is, I Boppose, his spirit, after his death. 

f Jahal Matta. See Hoffmann's Akt. Pers. Mart.^ p. 176, note 1873. 

X Again the MS. has 8h<iq8, for which I again read Shakhs. 

§ This appears to be the Kurdish word khaairij a corruption of the Arabic 
khazina, a treasury. Cf. Jaba's Diet. Kurds - Fran(;ai8, published by 
Justi, p. 155. 

II The word/ (in, at) seems to be needed here to make sense of the sentence. 

% Tuaha, apparently for tiisa. 

^* See Hoffmann, op. laud. p. 184, notes 6 and 7. 

C C 

386 Translation of Arabi/^ MS. 

During their assemblies at [the shrine of] Sheykli *Adi, it is not 
permitted to any of them to cook food, but all must eat from the 
table of Sheykh *Adi alone. Stones * are specially allotted to each 
Kuchak and PiV, beside which they are wont to sit, as though 
praying, and which the conunon folk visit with presents of money, 
in order that these mav make intercession for them. To these 
stones also they vow offerings of cattle, sheep, and the like, in 
order that their aspirations and aims may be fulfilled ; and each 
one offers [at least] the equivalent of what he eats at [the shrine 
of] Sheykh 'Adi.f 

To Sheykh *Adi, and Sheykh Shamsu'd-Din, and King Fakhru'd- 
Din are assigned certain days called WaWim,X during which they 
(i.e. the Yezidis) eat without payment, in consideration of their 
guaranteeing from year to year a fixed sum of money [to defray the 
expenses of these feasts]. The retainers of their Amir, together 
with one of their Sheykhs, go alx)ut amongst them at these 
assemblies to prevent any theft, or murder, or dispute. The con- 
summation of marriage at the shrine § is not jxjrmitted, because in 
their eyes it is a holy place. When they have eaten the Oavdnsh,\\ 
by which I mean the flesh of the consecrated ox, they afterwards 
bathe in the water of the Zamzam which flows beneath one of the 
shrines of Sheykh *Adi. They keep the flesh which has l)een j^laced 
in the cauldron and boiled therein ; and there are some of them who» 
when they are burnt, lay it upon their sores. They ascend the 
mountain firing off their guns, and each one of them takes a little 
earth from [the tomb of] Sheykh *Adi ; after which they turn back 
and put on the Barshiki [r'],T that is to say the girdle consecrated 
with the holy water, &c. One of them, who is named the Chawush** 
wears a girdle woven with goat's hair, and holds in his hand a 
Kahaluy that is to say, a plaited cord, about nine spans in length, 
woven of fine goat's wool, and dyed with Barkiisak, that is, black 

* Hijar. PerhapB, however, this is a olerioal error for kujar, " cells.** 
" shrineR," which seems to give a better sense. 

t See supra. 

X Plural of Walimay a banquet, feast. 

§ Again shaqs, for which it seems necessary to substitute shakhsy " person," 
" image.'* 

I| A corruption of the Persian gav-gusht f 

*[ I can find no trace of this word, and am quite uncertain as to its etymology*, 
meaning, and proper pronunciation. 

** A Turkish word, signifying a sergeant, or herald. 

History of the Tezidis, 387 

dve. He likewise carries freshlv-cut branches.* And when their 
visitation is duly accomplished and concluded, they bring the money 
which they have collected before the Amir, who gives to each 
according to his function, and keeps for himself whatever remains 

There are two [annual] gatherings, one at the Feast of the 
Pilgrimage, on which occasion they ascend the Mountain of Arafat, 
whence they race to [the shrine of] Sheykh 'Adi.f And he who 
outruns the rest is accounted most honourable amongst them. The 
second gathering is called " the Way of the Kawwals,^*X ^^^ ^^ ^^s 
occasion they bind ropes about their necks, go up into the mountain, 
collect fire- wood, and carry it to Sheykh *Adi to seethe meat (which 
they call simat) for the Amir. 

Now they suppose that they have had their kings from of old in 
all the world, in Europe. Asia, and elsewhere : Ahab, king of the 
Children of Israel ; Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon ; Ahasueras, 
King of Persia ; and Agricola, King of Constantinople. These, and 
others, as they say, were in their time their kings : Beelzebub, who 
if Pir Bub ; Nesrukh,§ who is Nasru*d'Din ; Kamush,§ who is 
Fakhru^d-Din ; Artemis, who is Shamsu* d-THn ; and, in later days, 
of the progeny of Shapur and Bahram,|| who have continued and 
begotten offspring without interruption unto this our time, which is 
the year 2202 of the Greeks, or 1892 of the Christian era. And 
they keep the water wherewith they have washed their idols, and 
give it to drink to the sick, and unto their women, for their evil 

* The MS. has shaiuuhily which I suppose to be a mistake for shamaahil^ an 
Arabic form of plural from shemshal. See Jaba's Diet. Kurde-Franqais, 
p. 261 : and Vollers' Persian Lexicon, s. v., shimshar.) 

t This ceremony, as well as the names Arafat, Zamzam, &o., seems to be a 
mere oopy of the Mecca Pilgrimage. 

X Tariqu'l-Qawwalin. 

§ See note on p. 378, rupra. 

1 1 The MS. has Turam, which is an easy corruption of Buram, which, in 
tnm, I suspect to be a corruption of Bahrain. 


C C 2 


• ^ • 

I. — From Alezandbetta to Mabdin. 


(Caravans generally tra^vel from three to four miles an hour.) 


Alexandretta — 

Beilan 3^ 


Khan-el-Diarbekrli .... 
Bndge of Murad Pasha 

El Hanmiamat . . . . 3J 
Afrin Khan (on river 

Afrin) 1 

Taionannin ' . . 4J 

Aleppo 7J 

Akhtei-fn 8 

Ayash 5J 

River 2} 

R. Sajm- IJ 

Zambui* 1} 

Kasandash 1| 

River 5 

Euphi-ates 3 

Birejik J 

Chann»Uik 9J 


Urfa 8J 

Karajenin ....... 12 

Mishmishin 2J 

Sewerek 6 

Village by a broken 

bridge 24 

Utchkuah 1 

Kainak 4 

Karabaksha 2| 

Sarsink 3^ 

Khan of Sarsink 4^ 

Diarbekr 4J 

Cherukfjrah IJ 

Khan Akhburah . . . 4| 

Ford IJ 

Ford IJ 

Khaniki 1^ 

Sheikh 3J 

Mardin 4^ 

II. — Mabdin to Mosul. 

Mardin — 

Tel-Han-fn 3 

Qala'at IJ 

Stream 2 

Dara J 

Sarjkhan 1| 

Khasser i 

Nisibis 24 

Kerasfn } 

Hajikhan 4 

Sti*eam ^ 

Aznaiir ^ 

River J 

Hajiluk 14 

Buwardah 1 

Atba 1 

Deiruneh J 

Kanigiir 4 

Shuswadfyah 5 

Stream 2| 

Stream lOj 

Ruined barracks ... 3^ 

Hamadfyah 6 



n. — Mabdin to Mosul. — Continued, 


Mosul 3i 

TelKaif 3^ 

• • • • • xH^ 

• • • • • ^z 



Kanigar | 


MiU. . 

Samfl . . . 

Grars . 

Marei . . . 

Feishkhabur . . 
Ruined village 
Ruined village 
Stream . . 
Tchelagha . 

Deirunah . . . 


. 1 

. 5J 

. 3 

. 1 

. li 

. 2i 

. 3 

ni. — Jebel Tub. 

Mardin — 

Risluna 1^ 

Ma'asirta 3^ 

Khdrbat-el-Qala'atah . 2 

Kh4rbat-el-gra8 ... 2^ 

Abeha 2f 

Midhiat 3 

Salah 2J 

Darindab ...... 1| 

Kafr Jusen i 

Ain J 

Eidaduwah ^ 

Hasan-el-Kaf 4| 

Satir 1 

Village 1 

Turn from river ... J 

Mamunah 1| 

Baleidi- IJ 

Deii* Mar Quriaqos .... 1^ 

Janaskar 1 

Mai Radwan .... i 

Kli6pa J 

Pal6ni IJ 

Has-has ...... 1 

Deir Mar Quriaqos — 

Bar-resel i 

Sliinariyah J 

Mamunali | 

Ain IJ 

The Tigris i 

Hasan-el-Xaf . . . . 2| 

Deir Mar Mokhr 1 

Difna } 

Ain Riisa 1| 

Tarda 3J 

Harmuis 3 

Deii* Mar Salib 1 

Pakubu li 

Hakh 13 

Hastarik 1 

Halakh IJ 

Amas IJ 

Midhiat 2 

Mazirzakh IJ 

Deir-el-Omar . . . . 2i 




. . Cloak. 

Haji . 

. . , Pilgi-im. 

Ahd . 

. . Ser\'ant. 

Hammam . . Bath. 

Al> . 

. . Father. 


. . Mayit be pleasant 

Abuna . 

. Our Father. 

to you. 


. A Turkish title. 


. . Women's apart- 

Ain . 


ments (the 

Aiwa . 

An exclamation. 



. . Open court. 


I . . Sir. 


. . Gk)d. 


. . Temple. 

Allah nia*k 

um Grod be with you. 


. . . The Flight (of 

Amir . . 

. . A title (Lord). 



Hosh . . 

. . Court yard. 


ek) Blest bread. 


. . . Leader. 

Arlja'in . 

. Forty. 


[ih . . Please God ! 


. . A liqueur. 


. . Submission. 




. . . Island. 


ek) Worthy. 

Jebel. . 

. . Mountain. 


. . Present. 


. . Effidgence. 

Bala khana 

Upper i-oom. 


. . Cream. 


HibiscuH esculen- 

Kali . 

. . Alkali. 

tU8. , 




t . Irregular troops. 


. . Word of submis- 

Biitrik . . 


sion (the Mo- 

Bazar . . 

Covered shops. 

hammedan Pro- 

Bej5 . . 

. . Turkish title (Sir). 

fession of faith). 

Beit . . 



. . . Zither. 


. . Police officer. 


. . . Pole-star. 

DaUiU . 

. . Auctioneer. 


. . . Scribe. 


. . Derwish. 


. . Mideteer. 

Deir . . 



. . . Kerchief. 

Dibbiz . 


Keif . . 

. . How. 

Diwan . . 

Reception room. 


. . . RAft. 

Diikkan . 

. . Shop. 


. . . The Religious 

Efendi . 

. . Gentleman. 

Head of Mo- 


. . Ornament. 



. . Poor. 


. . . Friend. 

Fariq . 

. . A military title. 


, . . Inn. 

Haj . 


. . Pilgrimage. 


. . . Favour. 



Khurj . . . 


Nakh . . . 

Make to kneel. 

Kitab . . . 


Nishiin . . . 

A decoration. 

Kismnt . . . 

It is fated. 

Nizam . . . 

Regular soldiers. 

Koran . . . 

Beading (the 



Para .... 

A fortieth part of 

cred book of Mo- 

a piastre. 



Pasha . . . 


Kursi . . . 


Piastre . . . 

Two pence 

Leben . . . 

Sour milk. 


MMhbkha. . 



Court of church. 

Madrasah . . 



Mafi .... 

Thei'e is not. 



Mafrian . . 


Qadhi . . . 


Majid . . . 


Qaimaq&m . . 

Governor of divi- 


sion of mutser- 

Majlis . . . 



Malik . . . 


Qarfb . . . 


Mar .... 



Mara. . . . 


Qala'at . . . 


Mashallah . . 



Qas .... 



Qiissar . . . 


Mastfk . . . 


Qawwus . . 


Minarah . . 


Qiblah . . . 

The direction of 




Mu'aUim . . 


Quds .... 


Mudhbah . . 


Rafidhiyah. . 

Deserters. Sec- 

Mudfr . . . 



Mu^ddhin . . 


Rahab . . . 


Mufti . . . 


Rabat - el • 

Muhaffah . . 


lakuui . . 

Turkish delight. 

Mujahid . . 

Fighters in a holy 

1 Rahman . . 





Ninth month in 

Miikhtilr . . 

Head of a village. 



Mulla . . . 



Mushfr . . . 


Ramman . . 


Mutrim . . . 


Reis .... 


C Second division of 

Sa*adat-kimi . 

Your Beatitude. 


i the empire. 

Salam aleikum 

Peace be upon 

r Governor of 



MutseiTtif . . 

< cond division of 

Salib . . . 


C empire. 

Sarasker . . 

Commander - in - 

Niibbi . . . 



Narjilah . . 


; Sardab . . . 



Sarj .... 


r Greek) 



Sayid . . . 



Senm . . . 

Clai*iiied butter. 




. . Tear spot; a boil. 

Tughi-a . . 

. Order. 

Senjak . . 


Turani . . 

Dialect of Syriac. 

Serai . . 




Shammiis . 


Tutun .. . 


IShaqs. • 

. . Shrine (?). 

Uiinia . . 

Body of men 

Sharff . 


learned in the 

Sliat . . 

. . Anx)w. 


Sheikh . 

Old num. 


Sheitiin . . 

Clever fellow. 

(Turkish) Head of police. 

Sherbet . . 


Wadi . . 

A valley through 

Shibnk . 

. . Pipe. 

which water 


xk.) Board Ijeaten in 

flows in winter. 

place of bell. 

Wakil . . 



. . Our Lady. 

Wali . . . 

Governor of a 


ah . Pmise be to God* 


Suq . . 

. . Market. * 



Sura . . 


Wardah . . 


Sytha . 

Holy oil. 

Wazfr . . 


Tahlfl . 

. . Cry of joy. 


Tanzimat . 

Regidation (espe- 

( Turkish ) Curdled milk. 

cially the re- 

Za'afenin . 


forms of 1841 ). 


Murmur (the sa- 


. . Fez. 

cred spring at 

Tasbfh . 



Ta'us . . 

. Peacock. 

Zaptieh . . 

Moimted police. 


. . Passport. 

Zibde . . 


Tibn . . 

Chopped straw. 

Ziyarah . . 

. Place of pilgrim- 





Abdelnialik. 299 

Abdullah, Mutran, 40 

Abdullah, Khalifa, 299 

Abgarus, 36 

Abraham, Mosque of, at Urfa, 32 

Abulfaragius : see Bar HebrseuB 

Ain Wardah, 167 

Akhterin, 14 

Aleppo, 4 

Syrians, 5 

Churches, 6 

Christians, 5 

House at, 5 

Button, 126 
Alexandretta, 1 
Aiiianus, 1 

American missions, 306 
Auiida : see Diarbekr 
Amir, of Yazidis, 361, 386 
Anizah : see Arabs 
Antidoron, 77, 341 
Antioch, 281 

Antiquities, 25, 145, 211, 225 
Arabs, 150, 153 

Rise of, 297 

Anizah, 229 

Shammar, 229 
Arba'in: see Church 
Alius, 283 
Amas, 204, 329 
Airak, 89, 174 
Ai*saces, 161 
Askof : see Bishop 
Assyrian mounds, 11 

Bahizani, 266, 362 

Bahshikah, 2^, 362 

Bakkhana, 86, 130 

Baptism. 342 

Baptism among Yazidis, 364, 36}* 

Bargaining, 8, 43, 52, 145, 197 

Bardwus : see James 

Bai' Hebiu'us. 269, 300 

Bar Sali)), Dionysius, 300, 355 

Barsum, 300 

Bashibazuks, 153 

Batna; SeiTiji, 34 

Bazar, 51 , 84, 86 

Beilan, 2 

Bells, 108 

Birds, 22. 2*; 

Birejik, 16 

Bisheri. 188 

Bishops, Syrian : 

Consecration, 320 

Di-ess, 320 

Duties, 318 

List of. 321 

Titles, 320 
Books, 150. J'M), 211, :i:37 
Bribery, 131 
Building, 190, 207 
Butter, 150 

Caesar, Byzantine title, 291 
CalliiThoiN 31 
Camels, 2, 231, 234 
Caravans, 9, 235 
Ceylon, Syrians in, 352 
Chalcedon, Council of, 28t> 
Chorepiscopus, 64, 325 
Chosi-oes, 161, 296 



Christians, secte of. 41 

and Moslems, 165 

Civilisation, 309 

Treatment of, 33, 167 

of St. John, 363 
Church, of Arba m. 60, 78 

of Amas, 329 

of Deir el Omar, 214, 334 

of S. Mary in Diarbekr, 44 

the Great, in Diarbekr, 53 

of Hakh. 203, 327 

of Nisibis, 225, 331 

of Mansurijah, 145 

of Mar Mikail, 75 

of Mar Shimnneh, 80 

of Salah, 181, 332 

Services, 6, 30, 75, 116 

Burial in, 332 

Narthex, 331 

Nave, 33 

Roof, 330 

Sanctuary, 329, 3*5 

Ceremonies. 211 

Vestments, 339, 341 
€o£fee, 24, 150 
Communion, 75, 339 
Confirmation, 343 
Cross, reverence of, 45, 119, 364 
Crusades, remains of, 25, 32 
Cyril of Alexandria. 352 

Damascus, fall of, 296 
Damianus, 295 
Dana, 3 
Dara, 155-160 
Deir el Omar, 214 

es Salib. 200 

el Za'aferan, 103 

es Sayyideh, 139 

Mar Mattha, 267 

Mai' Quriaqos, 186 

Mokhr. 198 
Diarbekr, 38 

Bazars of, 43. 51 

Christians of, 33, 41 

Churches of, 44. 53 

Diacrinomeni, 291 

Difne, 199 

Dionysius IV., Syrian Patriarch, 

Dioscorus, 286 
Doors, 75 

Easter Monday, 54 

Edessa : see Urfa 

Education, 113, 207 

Ef rem. 37 

England and Russia, 48, 98 

English Church, relation to Eastei^n 

Churches. 310 
Ennebbi Yunas, 244 
EphesuB, Council of, 285 
Eucharist, 75, 339, a55 
Eulogius, 293 
Euphrates. 18 
Eutyches, 286, 352 
Eutychianism, 353 
Eutychius, 295 
Excavations, 228, 248 

Family Life, 86 

Fariq, the, 246 

Fasts, 345, 363, 383 

Fatalism, 71 

Flocks, 15 

Fuller, Peter the, 288 

Fimeral : see Syrians, Yazidis 

Gardens, 105, 115 

Grarshuni. 118 

Gashterik, 204 

Gazelles, 236 

Goliyah, 148 

Good Friday. 45 

Gospel, Book of, 117, 337 

Grapes, 173. 199 

Greeks, Relations with Syiians, 

290, 293, 299, 355 
Gregorius, Mar, 40 
Gregory, the Illuminator, 283 

Hadad, 204 



Hair, 42. 246 
Hakh, 203. 329 
Hammamat. 3 
Harith, 292 
Hamiuis. 200 
Hasan Kaf. 184 
Hasan of Basra, 368 
Has-has. 192 
Hawak. 22 
Hemerobaptists. 364 
Henoticon, 288 
Hei-acUus, 161, 296 
Hijm, 297 
Holy Thursday, 42 
Honey, 150 
Houses, Syrian, 5, 86 
Hulagu, 36 
Hunting, 23, 236 

Iconoclast controversy, 297 
Ignatius, the Martyr, 281 

XI., Patriarch, 300 

Title of, 317 
IiTigation, 115 
Iskandei'un, 1 
Issus, 1 
lynges, 360 

Jacobites : see Syrian 
James, Barda^us, 291-294 

of Nisibis, 227 
Jebel Maqlub, 266 
Jebel Tur, 169 ff 
Jerusalem, captured by the Arabs, 

Jesuits, in Syria, 302 
John, the Almoner, 293 

of Damascus, 298 

of Ephesus, 289 

the Faster, 296 

the Great, 300 

Sarighta, 299 

Scholasticus, 289 
Julian of Halicamassus, 353 
Justin, Emperor, 289 
Justinian, Emperor, 289 

Kafr Juz, 182 

Kainak, 27 

Kara- Amid : see Diarbekr 

Karajadagh, 28 

Karajerun, 23 

Keferao, 189 

Kelleks, 185 

Kharbah, 174 

Kismat, 71 

Kiss of peace, 340 

Kopan, 266 

Kuchak, 361, 383, 385 

Kurds, 10, 23. 128, 156, 157, 164, 

177. 186, 193, 196, 201, 237 
Kuyunjik. 248 

Languages in use, 113 

Lanterns, 19 

Leo, the Great, 286 

the Isaurian, 297 
Longinus, 294 

Mafrian of Syrians, jurisdiction* 

Magism, 361 

Malabar, Syrians of. 347, 349 
Malak Ta'us, 359, 360, 369, 377 
Malatia, Retreat of Syrians to, 299 
Mallah, 266 

Mansur-el-Hallaj, 363. 367, 372 
Mansuriyah, 141 
Manuscripts, 150, 211. 337 
Mardin, 74. 59 
Syrians of. 73 
Moslems of, 92 
Mar Gregorius, 40 
Mar Mattha, 267 
Marriage customs, 142, 365, 373, 

Maurice, Emperor, 296 
Meals, 19, 89, 150, 157 
Medicine, 43. 126, 180, 198 
Melkites, 290, 293 
Mennas of Alexandria, 299 
Michael I., Syrian Patriarch, 299 
Midhiat, 178, 206 



Milan, Edict of, 282 
Mohammed, Rise of, 297 

Character of, 298 
Mohammedanism. 162 
Mondir, 295 
Money, 66 
Monks. 825 

Monophysitism, 289, 353 
Mosul, Excavations at, 248 

Syrians of, 273 
Mushir, 92 

Nestorius, 285 
Nicephonis Phocas. 299 
Nineveh, 248 
Nisibis. 223 

S. James of, 227 

Church of. :331 

Omar, 297 

Deir-el, 214 
Ophthalmia, 127 

Passporte, 38, 179, 213 
Patriarch of the Old Syrians, 314 

Power, 315 

Election. 316 

Title, 317 

Consecration, 111 

Peter III., house in Maidin, 62 

Visit to England, 351 
to MalaUr, 349 
Paul the Black. 292, 296 
Persian and Roiuan wai*8. 161, 224, 

Peter of Alexandria. 293 

Callinicus, 295 

the PuUer, 288 
Phasil, Monastery of, 291 
PhiloxenuB of Hieiupolis. 352 
Pictures, Syrian feeling towai-ds, 

Mohammedan feeling towards, 
Polyeuctus of Constantinople. 299, 


Priests, pai*ish, 323 

Marriage, 324 

Position, 325 
Proselytism, 209, 303. 306 
Protestants, 209 

Qala at-el-Mara, 103 
Qawwals, 368, 387 
Qawwas, 67 
Quails, 235 

Rabulas of Edessa. 37 
Ramadhan, 52, 371 
Redwan, 195 
Roads, 26 
Roman Catholics, 301 

in Midhiat, 212 

in Mosul, 271, 303 

in India, 348 
Roofs, 130, 141 
Russia, 48, 98 

Salah, 180, 332 

Sanjak, 360, 363, 382, 383 

Saracenic architecture, 185 

Schools, 81, 122, 149 

Scorpions, 118 

Semandro, 129 

Sergius, 292 

Seruj, 34 

Severus, 289, 353 

Sewerek, 24 

Shahrbarz, 296 

Shams-ed-din, 359, 371 

Shaqs, 266, 371 

Sheep, sacrifice of, 359 

Flocks of, 12, 15 
Sheikhs of Yazidis, 362, 368 
Sheikh A'di, 361, 367, 370, 374 
Sheikhan, 358 
Shishan. 22 
Simeon Stylites, 3 
Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusa- 
lem, 297 



Stephen of Cyprus, 289 
SyriauB, Old, character, 129, 136, 
142, 274 

Beliefs, 352 £F. 

Clergy, 150, 326 

Condition, 165 

Fasts, 345 

Houses, 5, 86 

Funeral customs, 344 

Marriage customs, 142. 244 

Names, 343 

Numbers, 68, 346 

Quarrels, 142, 196, 2U6 

Relations with English 
Church, 311 

Relations with Gi'eek Church, 
299, 355 

in India, 347 

History, 281 
Syrians, Papal, 129 
Syrian Grates, 1 

TahlU, 244 
Tamerlane, 37, 216 
Taxation, 218, 224, 253, 255 
Tea, 69. 86 
Teherukiyah, 58 
Tela Manzalat, 291 
Tel Harrin, 222 
Teskereh, 39, 178, 213 
Theodore of Alexandria, 293 
Theodosiiis of Alexandria, 289 

of Antioch, 353 
Tiberius, Emperor, 291 
Tigris, 263 
Trade, 85 

Travels, hints on, 170 
Trisagion, 288 
Turks, Army, 95 

Justice, 101 

Manners, 25, 98 

Toleration, 42, 189 

Treatment of Christians, 28. 
167, 298, 

of Yazidis, 257, 372 

Women, 13 

Ui-fa, 29 

Synaus of, 33 
Christians of, 30 
Mosque of Abraham, 32 
Gi*eat Mosque, 32 
Churches, 29, 34 
Roman remains. 32 
Histoiy. 34 
School of, 37 

Vineyards, 173, 199 

Wadi, 236 
Walid, 298 

Whitsimday, 119, 341 
Woman, 13 
Writing. 86 

Yardi, 199 

Yazid, 299, 368, 381 

Yazidis, 252 

History, 357, 378 
Angels, 377, 380 
Baptism, 363, 369 
Beliefs, 358 ff. 
Ciix^umcision, 363 
Connection with Christianity, 
363. 364 

with Islam, 370, 372, 381, 

with Magism, 361 
with Sabianism, 359, 375 
Ceremonies, 367 ff, 382, 387 
Fimeral customs, 366, 383, 

Marriage customs, 365, 373 

380, 384 
Festivals, 366, 383 
Fasts, 363, 369, 373, 383 
Prayer, 363, 383 
Priestly orders, 367, 368 
Tmusmigration of souls, 375, 

Regard for water, 363, 373 
Regard foi- fire, a59 
Stoi-y of Creation, 377, :W0